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More than six billion different knot types have been identified by mathematicians and scientists since the 1800s.

Not Your Average Knot

Author: Adam Zhang

Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology

Chemists at the University of Manchester have produced the tightest knot ever created. Published earlier this month in the journal Science, the team led by David Leigh used techniques in synthetic chemistry to braid strands of different molecules into a structure with over eight crossings. The first synthetic chemical knot was created in 1989 by chemist Jean-Pierre Sauvage of Strasbourg University, who later went on to win the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for molecular machines.

“And then, for the next 25 years, chemists were not able to make any more-complicated knots than that,” says Leigh.

This new knot, itself a type of molecular machine, is a step in the f… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

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