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Welcome to the SPOCK Archive

For your information below, an historical record of activites on the SPOCK Programme, including details of conferences, talks, posters and meetings involving SPOCK researchers

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Conferences Attended - 2015-16

Please see below details of conferences attended and talks given by members of the SPOCK team during the second year of the Programme.

Date Name Details
September-2016Fabian MaucherInvited talk, 'Self-organisation of light in optical media with competing non-linearities', FANS and ANPh 2016, XVIII International Conference, Foundations & Advances in Non-linear Science, Minsk, Belarus
September-2016Fabian MaucherContributed talk, 'Untangling knots via reaction-diffusion dynamics of vortex strings', FANS and ANPh 2016, XVIII International Conference, Foundations & Advances in Non-linear Science, Minsk, Belarus
September-2016Anthony YeatesInvited talk, 'The Global Distribution of Magnetic Helicity in the Solar Corona', ISSI International Team on Magnetic Helicity, Bern, Switzerland
September-2016Mark MillerInvited talk, 'Energy Landscapes of Knotted Clusters', Workshop on Knots and Links in Biological and Soft Matter Systems, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy.
September-2016Paul SutcliffeInvited talk, 'Phases of Kinky Holographic Nuclear Matter', Second Geometric Models of Nuclear Matter Conference, University of Kent, UK
September-2016David FosterInvited talk, 'Skyrmion Knots', Second Geometric Models of Nuclear Matter Conference, University of Kent, UK
September-2016Danica SugicContributed Talk, 'Designing tightly focused fields with optical vortex knots', International Workshop on Structured Light and Matter Concepts and Applications, Zanjan, Iran.
August-2016Alexander TaylorInvited talk, 'Geometry and topology of nodal tangle in random quantum eigenfunctions', Probabilistic methods in Spectral Geometry and PDE, Centre de Recherches Mathematiques, University of Montreal, Canada.
August-2016Simon HannaContributed Talk, 'Optical binding between knotted and chiral nanostructures' Optical Trapping and Optical Manipulation conference as part of SPIE Optics and Photonics, San Diego, USA.
July-2016Kate HornerInvited speaker and session chair,'Magnetic Shielding Study of Urea-Based Gelators', Gordon Research Seminar on Computational Chemistry, Barcelona, Spain
July-2016Alexander TaylorContributed Talk, 'Virtual Knotting in Protein Chains', Knots in Hellas Conference, Ancient Olympia, Greece
July-2016David FosterContributed Talk, 'Knotted Resonances', Knots in Hellas Conference, Ancient Olympia, Greece
July-2016Ben BodeContributed Talk, 'Knotted Fields and Real Algebraic Links', Knots in Hellas Conference, Ancient Olympia, Greece
July-2016Mark DennisTalk, 'Knotted Vortices in Light', Knots in Hellas Conference, Ancient Olympia, Greece
June-2016Anthony YeatesContributed talk, 'The global distribution of magnetic helicity in the Sun's corona', Center for Fusion Space and Astrophysics, UKMHD conference, University of Glasgow, UK.
June-2016David FosterContributed talk, 'Skyrmion Resonances', Solitons (non)Integrability Geometry (SIG V) in High Energy Physics and String Theory, Krakow, Poland.
May-2016Anthony YeatesInvited seminar, 'The global distribution of magnetic helicity in the Sun's corona', Center for Fusion Space and Astrophysics, University of Warwick, UK.
May-2016Danica SugicInvited talk, 'Small Vortex Optical Knots', Eastern Arc Conference in Topological Solitons and Quantum Fluids, Kent, UK
May-2016David FosterInvited talk,'Knotted Resonances', Eastern Arc Conference in Topological Solitons and Quantum Fluids, Kent, UK
April-2016Anthony YeatesInvited talk, 'The global distribution of magnetic helicity in the Sun's corona', IUTAM Symposium on Helicity Structures and Singularity in Fluid and Plasma Dynamics, Venice, Italy.
See IUTAM Symposium on Helicity Structures and Singularity in Fluid and Plasma Dynamics
March-2016Paul SutcliffeInvited talk, 'Topological Solitons', Topological Science Symposium, Tokyo, Japan.
See Keio Topological Science Project
March-2016Alexander TaylorInvited talk, 'Geometry and Topology of Vortices in Random Quantum Eigenfunctions', APS March Meeting, Baltimore, USA
February-2016Fabian MaucherInvited seminar, 'Some Aspects of Vortices in Light- and Matter Waves', Applied Maths Group, University of East Anglia, UK.
See Applied Maths Research Seminars
January-2016Mark DennisInvited talk, 'Optical Topology and Knotting: Controlled Interference, and Tangling in the Wild', Heraeus Seminar, Bad Honnef, Germany.
December-2015Lauren ScanlonInvited talk, 'Cultural Evolution of Material Knot Diversity', Knots in Washington XLI, USA.
December-2015Mark DennisInvited talk, 'Scaling of Random Vortex Knots in Wave Chaos', Materials Research Society (MRS), Fall Symposium on Topology in Materials Science, USA.
December-2015Elena BonioloContributed talk, 'Separating Knots in Biological Polymers', Materials Research Society (MRS), Fall Symposium on Topology in Materials Science, USA.
December-2015Keith AlexanderContributed talk, 'Proteins Analysed as Virtual Knots', Materials Research Society (MRS), Fall Symposium on Topology in Materials Science, USA.
September-2015Simon GardinerInvited talk, 'Mean-field and beyond-mean-field dynamics in single- and multi-component condensates', FINESS 2015 (Finite Temperature Non-equilibrium Superfluid Systems), Sopot, Poland.
See FINESS 2015

Posters Presented - 2015-16

List of posters presented by SPOCK team members during the second year of the Programme.

Date Name Details
September-2016Danica Sugic'Engineering small knotted optical singularities in non-paraxial wavefields', International Workshop on Structured Light and Matter Concepts and Applications, Zanjan, Iran.
September-2016Keith Alexander'Proteins Analysed as Virtual Knots', ICTP Workshop on Knots and Links in Biological and Soft Matter Systems, Trieste, Italy.
September-2016Elena Boniolo'Separating Knots in Biological Polymers', ICTP Workshop on Knots and Links in Biological and Soft Matter Systems, Trieste, Italy.
July-2016Kate Horner'Magnetic Shielding Study of Urea-Based Gelators', ISTCP 2016 (International Society for Theoretical Chemical Physics) in Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA
February-2016Ben Bode'Constructing Knotted Fields', Winter Braids VI school, University of Lille, France.
April-2016Ben Bode'Physics, Art, Mathematics, Science: Hidden Connections', (Celebration of Professor Sir Michael Berry's 75th Birthday), Bristol, UK
April-2016Danica Sugic'Vortex Propagation Dynamics in Optical Knots', (Celebration of Professor Sir Michael Berry's 75th Birthday), Bristol, UK
April-2016Keith Alexander'Proteins Analysed as Virtual Knots', (Celebration of Professor Sir Michael Berry's 75th Birthday), Bristol, UK
February-2016Kate HornerSingle Figure Presentation, Winter School for Computational Chemistry - Virtual lectures and virtual posters
December-2015Kate Horner'Knotted Urea-Based Gels: Urea-Tape Formation', Macrocyclic & Supramolecular Chemistry Conference, MASC 2015, Durham, UK
December-2015Antonio CincottiMacrocyclic & Supramolecular Chemistry Conference, MASC 2015, Durham, UK

Outreach Activities - 2015-16

Please see details below of activities involving the SPOCK team during the second year of the Programme.

Date Name Details
Dec-2015Keith AlexanderPresentation at a sixth form outreach event
Dec-2015Keith Alexander
Mark Dennis
Bristo Science Café Lecture, "Much ado about knotting' at Halo Café, Bristol
Dec-2015Keith Alexander
assisted by:
Danica Sugic,
Alex Houston and
Elena Boniolo
Presentation and demonstration of knots and vortices for secondary school students as part of the School of Physics Open Access event
May-2016Lauren ScanlonTwo day visit to the International Guild of Knot Tyers
Jul-2016Keith Alexander
Mark Dennis
Sutton Trust outreach session for A-level summer school students, with demonstrations of knots and vertices

Other Events - 2015-16

List of other events which took place during the second year of the Programme.

Date Name Details
Sep-2016Fabian MaucherInvited talk, Macro Mini-conference and JQC Symposium, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
May-2016Randall KamienProfessor Kamien, University of Pennsylvania, visited the SPOCK team in Bristol, during which he gave a talk entitled: 'Elasticity, Topology and Geometry: FC Frank's Legacy in the Field of Liquid Crystals' (Sir Charles Frank Memorial Lecture)
Apr-2016David FosterSouth East Maths-Physics Seminar, Cambridge, UK
Apr-2016Alexander Taylor
Ben Bode
Daniel Peralta-Sales, ICMAT (Institute of Mathematical Sciences), Madrid, Spain, Dr Taylor gave a talk on 'Geometry and Topology of Vortices in Random Quantum Eigenfunctions'
March-2016Ben BodeInvited 'speed talk, 'Knots and Singularities', British Mathematical Colloquium, Bristol, UK
March-2016Alexander TaylorInvited talk, 'Geometry and Topology of Vortices in Random Quantum Eigenfunctions', Irvine Lab, University of Chicago, USA
March-2016Alexander TaylorInvited talk, 'Geometry and Topology of Vortices in Random Quantum Eigenfunctions', ICMAT (Institute of Mathematical Sciences), Madrid, Spain
Nov-2015Full Project TeamDurham Bristol, SPOCK Mini-Conference, Bristol, UK

A joint seminer involving the Durham and Bristol team members was held in Bristol on 16 and 17 November 2015. All of the Brisotl and Durham PhD students and Research Associates, as well as four investigators, gave presentations of their work to the rest of the team. PhD posters were displayed publicly, encouraging discussion not only amongst the team, but also publicising the project more widely. The event was a valuable opportunity to record the progress made during the first year of the SPOCK project and for the whole team to talk about the next steps.

The schedule for the event is available here

Conferences Attended - 2014-15

Please see below details of conferences attended and talks given by members of the SPOCK team during the first year of the Programme.

Date Name Details
Nov-2014Jon SteedInvited talk, 'Supramolecular Gels: Orthogonal Self-Assembly far from Equilibrium', ACS Midwestern Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, Columbia, MO, USA.
Nov-2014Anthony YeatesInvited talk, 'Redistribution of Magnetic Helicity by Reconnection', Mathematics Research Seminar, Northumbria University, UK.
Nov-2014Anthony YeatesInvited talk, 'Redistribution of Magnetic Helicity by Reconnection', NHD Seminar, University of Dundee, UK.
Feb-2015Paul SutcliffeInvited talk, 'Hyperbolic Monopoles', 4th Winter Workshop on Non-Perturbative Quantum Field Theory, University of Nice, France.
Feb-2015Jon SteedInvited talk, 'Crystallization and Gelation: Orthogonal Self-Assembly Far from Equilibrium', Supramolecular Chemistry in Water - COST D31 Meeting, Prague, Czech Republic.
Mar-2015Alexander TaylorContributed talk, 'Geometry and Topology of Tangled Vortices in Wave Chaos', American Physical Society (APS) Annual March Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, USA.
Apr-2015Dave FosterInvited talk, 'Scattering of Spinning Skyrmions', Solitons: Topology, Geometry, and Applications Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece.
May-2015Jamie TehraniInvited talk, 'Cultural traditions and population histories - how are they related?', Culture Conference 2015 - 'Origins and transmission of culture: An interdisciplinary approach', Birmingham, UK.
May-2015Ifan HughesInvited talk, 'Absolute absorption and dispersion in dense alkali-metal thermal vapours', 47th Conference of the European Group on Atomic Systems, Riga, Latvia.
Jun-2015Dave FosterInvited talk, 'Scattering of Nucleons in the Classical Skyrme Model', 1st Eastern Arc Conference on Topological Solitons and Quantum Fluids, University of East Anglia, UK.
Jun-2015Andrew LobbInvited talk, 'Homotopy Types and Quantum Knot Cohomologies', AMS-EMS-SPM International Meeting 2015, Porto, Portugal.
Jul-2015Mark DennisInvited talk, 'Scaling of Vortex Knots in Random 3D Eigenfunctions', Nottingham-Nice Days of Waves, Nottingham, UK.
Jul-2015Jon SteedInvited talk, 'Sliding Down the Supersaturation Gradient: Crystals, Gels, Drugs and Blue Ketchup', USIC, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
Aug-2015Mark DennisInvited talk, 'Engineering Knotted Optical Vortices for Interaction with Structured Matter', META-15, the 6th International Conference on Metamaterials, Photonic Crystals and Plasmonics, New York, USA.
Aug-2015Jon SteedInvited talk, 'Crystallization and Gelation: Orthogonal Self-assembly far from Equilibrium', The 29th European Crystallographic Meeting, Rovinj, Croatia.
Aug-2015Simon GardinerInvited talk, 'Fictional Classical Dynamics far from Classicality', CCPQ Workshop: Dynamics of Complex Quantum Systems, Windsor, UK.
Aug-2015Fabian MaucherInvited talk, 'Self-Organisation in Optical Media with Competing Nonlinearities', 24th Annual International Laser Physics Workshop, Shanghai, China.
Sep-2015Mark DennisPlenary talk 'Scaling of Optical Vortex Knots in Random Modes', 12th International Conference on Correlation Optics, Chernivtsi, Ukraine.
Sep-2015Danica SugicContributed talk 'Engineering Short Optical Vortex Knots by Vortex Propagation Dynamics', 12th International Conference on Correlation Optics, Chernivtsi, Ukraine.
Sep-2015Dave FosterInvited talk 'Scattering of Spinning Skyrmions', Skyrme 2015, Lanzhou, China.
Sep-2015Alexander TaylorContributed talk 'Geometry and Topology of Vortices in Random Quantum Wavefunctions', Geometry and Physics of Spatial Random Systems Conference, Bad Herrenalb, Germany.
Sep-2015Jon SteedInvited talk, 'Crystallization and Gelation: Orthogonal Self-Assembly Far from Equilibrium', ICSU Workshop on Crystal Engineering, Como, Italy.
Sep-2015Kate HornerInvited talk, 'Knotted Urea-Based Gels: Atomistic and Coarse-Grained Simulations of Urea-Tape Formation', 10th European Conference on Computational Chemistry, Fulda, Germany.
Sep-2015Kate HornerInvited talk, 'Knotted Urea-Based Gels: Urea-Tape Formation', 51st Symposium on Theoretical Chemistry - 'Chemistry in Motion', Potsdam, Germany.
Sep-2015Ifan HughesInvited talk, 'Quantum Optics in Dense Alkali-metal Thermal Vapours', QuAMP, The International Conference on Quantum, Atomic, Molecular and Plasma Physics, University of Sussex, UK.
Sep-2015Anthony YeatesInvited talk, 'Impact of Magnetic Topology on Plasma Dynamics', Dynamics Days Europe 2015, University of Exeter, UK.

Posters Presented - 2014-15

List of poster presented by SPOCK team members during the first year of the Programme.

Date Name Details
Dec-2014Antonio Cincotti'Knotting in Peptides and Gels', MASC 2014, RSC Macrocylic & Supramolecular Chemistry Meeting, Norwich, UK.
Mar-2015Kate Horner'SPOCK - Moebius Systems, Knots and Gels', 5th Chemical Nanoscience Symposium, Newcastle University, UK.
Mar-2015Antonio Cincotti'Knots in Self-assembled Peptides and Oscillating Chemical Reactions', 5th Chemical Nanoscience Symposium, Newcastle University, UK.
May-2015Lauren ScanlonCultural Evolution of Material Knot Diversity, Culture Conference 2015, Birmingham UK. Won the best poster prize.
Aug-2015Ben Beswick'Epsilon-pseudoclassics', CCPQ Workshop: Dynamics of Complex Quantum Systems, Windsor, UK.
Sep-2015Dave Foster'Knots in the Skyrme-Faddeev model', Shape Up 2015 (Australasian Colloid and Interface Society), Berlin, Germany.
Sep-2015Keith Alexander'Proteins Analysed as Virtual Knots', Shape Up 2015 (Australasian Colloid and Interface Society), Berlin, Germany.
Sep-2015Ben Bode 'Constructing Knotted Fields', Shape Up 2015 (Australasian Colloid and Interface Society), Berlin, Germany.
Sep-2015Ben Beswick'Epsilon-pseudoclassics', Quantum Matter Out of Equilibrium, Granada, Spain.
Sep-2015Elena Boniolo'Separating Knots in Biological Polymers', GPSRS 2015, Germany.
Sep-2015Alexander Houston'Vortices in Random Aharonov-Bohm Wavefunctions', GPSRS, Germany.

Invited Seminars - 2014-15

Details of seminars and other talk titles covering the first year of the Programme

Date Name Details
Oct-2014Dave Foster'The Skyrme-Faddeev Model', Theory Group Seminar, University of Bristol, UK.
Nov-2014Mark DennisInaugural lecture 'Putting a spin on light: twisting, tangling and topology in waves', University of Bristol, UK.
Jan-2015Dave Foster'Scattering of Spinning Skyrmions', Topological Solitons Seminar, Durham University, UK.
Feb-2015Anthony Yeates'Redistribution of magnetic helicity by reconnection', Applied mathematics seminar, Newcastle University, UK.
Mar-2015Mark Dennis'Exploring the topology of light waves: knotted, linked & tangled optical vortices', Optics Theory Colloquium, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen, Germany.
May-2015Alexander Taylor'The importance of symmetries to physical knots', Theoretical Physics away day, University of Bristol, UK.
May-2015Anthony Yeates'Impact of magnetic topology on plasma dynamics', University of Sheffield, UK.
Jun-2015Ben Bode'Constructing Knotted Fields', Joint Über-Seminar, University of Würzburg, Germany.
Jun-2015Kate Horner'From Synthetic Dream to Mathematics: Studying Transition States of a Theoretical Chemist', Postgraduate Symposium, Durham, UK
Jul-2015Paul SutcliffeInvited talk, 'Hyperbolic Monopoles', Analysis, Geometry and String Theory Colloquium, Leibniz University, Hannover, Germany.
Mar-2015David Evans'Spiral Wave Organisation in the Belousov-Zhabotinsky Reaction', Hill Colleges, East Research Forum, Mini-conference, Durham, UK
Nov-2014Gert can der HeijdenBiomathematics research seminar, "Knotted Ropes: Constrained elastic filaments in braids and on cylinders", presented in by Professor Gert van der Heijden from UCL, Durham, UK

Outreach Activities - 2014-15

Please see details below of activities involving the SPOCK team during the first year of the Programme.

Date Name Details
Feb-2015Mark MillerPublic Lecture, 'Knots', Café Scientifique, Durham, UK.
Feb-2015David EvansPublic Lecture, 'Fun with Lasers, Chemicals and Spirals', Ushaw College, Durham, UK.
Feb-Jul-2015Mark Dennis
Keith Alexander
Elena Boniolo
Alexander Houston
Knots in Science', workshop for schoolchildren visiting Bristol under widening-participation schemes.
Mar-2015Kate Horner
David Evans
Lauren Scanlon
'Knots Workshop' for schoolchildren at the Annual Durham University Schools' Science Festival.
Mar-2015Kate Horner
Lauren Scanlon
Practical session for schoolgirls on Knot Theory (entitled: What do Mathematicians and Cows have in Common?). Part of the Durham University Girls 'n Maths outreach programme.
Summer-2015Mark Dennis
Ben Bode
Supervision of a research intern from a Bristol school as part of the Nuffield summer placements scheme.
Sep-2015Mark Dennis
Keith Alexander
Invited talk 'Knots in Physics', Orkney International Science Festival.

Previous Group Meetings

List of group meetings going back to the start of the Programme in 2014

Date Room Theme Talk Information
23/05/2016 CM105ChemistryKate Horner - Research Update
09/05/2016 CM105MathsPaul Sutcliffe - Research Update
25/04/2016 CM105PhysicsBen Beswick - Research Update
17/03/2016CG83MathsAnthony Yeates - "Identifying twisted magnetic sub-structure in the Sun's atmosphere"
03/03/2016 CG83MathsChris Prior / Paul Sutcliffe - Two short talks
18/02/2016 CG83Anthropology/MathsLauren Scanlon - Pilot Experiment
04/02/2016 CG83MathsDavid Evans - Research Update
21/01/2016 CG83All AreasGeneral update from all areas
04/12/2015 PCL056ChemistryChris Jones, "Ropemaking by supramolecular self-assembly"
20/11/2015 PCL056MathsChris Prior, Research Update
06/11/2015 PCL056ChemistryJon Steed, "Self-Assembled Fibrous Materials"
23/10/2015 PCL056PhysicsFabian Maucher - research update
01/10/2015 Video-ConferenceFull ProgrammeGeneral Informal Discussion across the Programme
10/06/2015 W309PhysicsBen Beswick - Research Update
27/05/2015 W309MathematicsDavid Evans- Update on practical initiation of knots in the BZ reaction
13/05/2015 W309ChemistryAntonio Cincotti - Research Update
29/04/2015 W309MathematicsAnthony Yeates - The Magnetic Borromean Rings
23/03/2015 CG116J (Chemistry) All Areas Research update from Kate and Antonio to Jon Steed's group
10/03/2015 W309 All Areas General update from all areas
03/03/2015 W309 Chemistry Kate Horner- Research Update
24/02/2015 W309 Physics/Chemistry Beth Bromley- Overview of protein work literature
17/02/2015 W309 Physics Fabian Maucher- Research update
10/02/2015 W309 Anthropology Lauren Scanlon- Results of her recent experiments
03/02/2015 W309 Physics Gordon Love- "Creating Light Fields"
27/01/2015 W309 Chemistry Jon Steed- Gels & Ravels
20/01/2015 W309 Maths Paul Sutcliffe & David Evans-
A discussion of the background literature of the BZ reaction
13/01/2015 W309 All Areas Discussion of objectives for this term
05/12/2014 CLC407 Anthropology Lauren Scanlon
28/11/2014 CM107 Maths Chris Prior- Research Update (Braids)
David Evans- "Slanty Cylinders of Darkness and Other Optical Setups"
21/11/2014 CM107 Physics Simon Gardiner- "Bose-Einstein Condensates and the Gross-Pitaevskii Equation"
14/11/2014 CM107 Physics Ifan Hughes- "Laser cooling, BEC and the GPE"
07/11/2014 CLC407 Anthropology Jamie Tehrani & Jeremy Kendal- "The Cultural Evolution of Material Knot Diversity"
Lauren Scanlon- Research Update
31/10/2014 CM107 Chemistry Mark Miller- "Global Optimisation of Knots"
24/10/2014 CM107 Chemistry Antonio Cincotti- "Knots in Chemistry"
Kate Horner- "Belousov-Zhabotinsky Reaction"
17/10/2014 CM107 Mathematics Paul Sutcliffe- "Excitable Knots"
10/10/2014 CM107 All Areas Introductions of all members of SPOCK group

Culture Conference 2015, Birmingham - Knot Tying Exercise

Please see below the results of the knot tying exercise at Culture Conference 2015, Birmingham


knot 8_21
knot 8_21

The knot participants were asked to tie was a stopper knot, used generally at the end of a piece of rope to stop the rope unravelling, passing back through a hole or slipping through another knot. By joining up the ends, this knot can be characterised as knot 8_21 (seen here on KnotAtlas).

Participants were given the picture (shown left) and asked to tie the knot. They could have as much time and attempts as they wanted and did not have to submit a knot if they did not want to. Eight knots were produced as part of this experiment - more may have been attempted but given up! Of the eight knots tied, four were the correct knot, giving us a 50% success rate in this case! The other knots tied were; two cases of the knot 5_1 (see here) one case of the knot 5_2 (see here) one case of the knot 6_2 (see here)





knot 5_1
knot 5_1


The knot 5_1 may have been tied as shown. We can see the knot shown here has the same number of crossings as the target knot. However, if we follow the knot round from the upper right end, we see it crosses over three strands, then under two, whereas the corresponding strand on the correct knot crosses over three, under one, then over one. Other than that, the rest of the crossings look correct. The one observed crossing change allows the knot to be deformed through Reidemeister moves, leaving us with knot 5_1, a very different looking knot to 8_21.






knot 6_2
knot 6_2


The knot 6_2 may have been tied as shown. Again, we can see the knot shown here has the same number of crossings as the target knot. Following the knot from the upper right end, we get a pattern of over, over, under, over for the crossings, instead of the target over, over, over, under. Following further on the strand, we see it is on the inside of the finished knot, as opposed to the outside of the target knot, resulting in further incorrect crossings. These changes allow the knot to be deformed through Reidemeister moves, leaving us with knot 6_2. The knot 6_2 is closer in number of crossings to 8_21 than 5_1 is, but analysing the changes that resulted in both knots being tied shows us fewer mistakes led to 5_1 than 6_2, so 5_1 can be seen as being closer to the intended 8_21.





knot 5_2
knot 5_2


The knot 5_2 may have been tied as shown. The knot looks very different to the knot 8_21 and does not have the same amount of crossings as the target picture. It is likely that when tying this knot, the participant lost track of where on the target picture they were, loosing track of crossings and resulting in a knot quite far from the intended.








News & Events - 2014-15

Here are some details of News and Events during the first year of the SPOCK Programme.

More Congratulations!! (May 2015)

Lauren Scanlon attended the Culture Conference 2015 entitled "The Origins and Transmission of Culture: An interdisciplinary approach", on 28th May. She presented a poster on her research which combines maths and anthropology. This was her first ever poster competition and she did so well that she won! Congratulations, Lauren!

Congratulations!! (April-May 2015)

Congratulations to Sandy Taylor (Bristol), who passed his Viva in April, and Lauren Scanlon (Durham) who passed her Progression Interview in May.

Professor Enzo Orlandini visit to Bristol (April 2015)

Prof Enzo Orlandini (Padova, Italy) visited Bristol on 16-17 April. In addition to performing the role of external examiner for Sandy Taylor, he gave a talk entitled "DNA packaging and ejection in viral capsids: hints from topology". We hope this is the start of a valuable collaboration.

Bristol to visit Durham (November 2014)

The Bristol half of the SPOCK group visited Durham on 3rd and 4th December, 2014 for two days of lectures and seminars the variety of areas being researched at both sites.

Kick-off meeting held (October 2014)

The new positions have been filled and the SPOCK group has begun. To celebrate, a meeting was held between all new members of the group as well as many academics from across various fields, all of whom have an interest in knots. The meeting yielded a wealth of collaboration opportunities and got the project off to a great start.

£1.7m Leverhulme award for Bristol-Durham knot theory collaboration

The Leverhulme Trust has awarded one of its prestigious Research Programme Grants to a collaboration between the Universities of Durham and Bristol for SPOCK: Scientific Properties of Complex Knots.

The £1.7 million project, led by Professor Paul Sutcliffe (from Durham’s Department of Mathematical Sciences) and Professor Mark Dennis (from Bristol’s School of Physics), will involve researchers coming together from diverse and complementary disciplines in both universities, including Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biosciences, Anthropology, Computer Science and Philosophy.

The complexity of the three-dimensional space we live in is exemplified by the complexity of knots as studied mathematically, and many spatial systems across the sciences (including quantum-mechanical and optical wave fields, fluid flows, and tangled polymers and DNA molecules) have knot-like properties. The award will be used to investigate the nature of highly complex and tangled knots occurring in a variety of physical systems, and the interaction of these knots with their environment. This will drive development of new analytical, numerical and experimental techniques in a number of interdisciplinary sub-projects, where experimentalists, theorists, mathematicians and scholars from the humanities can work together to identify and solve problems in applied knot theory.

The Leverhulme Trust is one of the largest providers of all-subject research funding in the UK. For its Research Programme Grants competition, it invites bids against selected themes of research. The grants provide funds to research teams for up to five years to enable them to explore significant thematic issues. The scale of the awards (each one at a sum of up to £1.75 million) is set at a level where it is possible for a research team to study a significant theme in depth by conducting a group of interlinked research projects which taken together can lead to new understanding. The themes are selected not to exclude particular disciplines from the competition but rather to encourage research teams to look upon their established research interests from a set of refreshing viewpoints.

Vacancies

All positions have been filled

Applications are invited for the above positions funded by a Research Programme Grant from the Leverhulme Trust to support the interdisciplinary project SPOCK: Scientific Properties Of Complex Knots. The project is a collaboration between Durham University and the University of Bristol, with the above positions shared equally between the two universities.
All Research Associate and PhD positions are fully funded for four years from 1st October 2014.

See below for more information and application details for the six positions available in Durham.

PhD: The cultural evolution of material knot diversity

PhD: Synthesis and characterisation of knot forming biopolymers and supramolecular materials

PhD: Theoretical and computational study of atoms interacting with knotted light fields

Research Associate: Modelling of knot assembly in supramolecular materials

Research Associate: Post Reference 3576 - Modelling of knot assembly in supramolecular materials

This position has been filled.

This is a four year Research Associate post at Durham University funded by the Leverhulme Trust involving mathematical and computational modelling of the assembly and properties of knotted molecules and extended materials. The post forms a cornerstone in an extremely unusual and exciting programme grant entitled SPOCK: Scientific Properties Of Complex Knots, involving the appointment of eleven other researchers (three more Research Associates and eight PhD students) at the Universities of Durham and Bristol. The programme is a major interdisciplinary collaboration across Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Bioscience, Anthropology and Computer Science.

This particular interdisciplinary post is initially associated with chemical knots, involving the simulation and mathematical modelling of self-assembling small molecules and peptides, working closely with the experimental team. It will begin under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan Steed (Department of Chemistry), Prof. Paul Sutcliffe (Department of Mathematical Sciences), Dr. Elizabeth Bromley (Department of Physics) and Dr. Mark Miller (Department of Chemistry). The postholder will liaise with the other members of the SPOCK team and assist in the guidance of the team of PhD students. A novel and important feature is that the postholder will be expected to adopt a roaming role and become involved with other aspects of the SPOCK project over the four year timescale: in particular, this will require a significant contribution to a sub-project concerning the modelling of atom-light interactions with knotted fields of light.

Application process:

Applications for this position are through the University website at https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/apply/ using reference number 3576, and should include a CV, the contact details of three referees and a cover letter detailing relevant experience.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Prof. Jonathan Steed (jon.steed@durham.ac.uk). Click here for a direct link to the application webpage.

Closing date: 1 June 2014

Research Associate: Modelling of atom-light interactions with knotted fields of light

Research Associate: Post Reference 3577 - Modelling of atom-light interactions with knotted fields of lights

This position has been filled.

This is a four year Research Associate post at Durham University funded by the Leverhulme Trust involving mathematical and computational modelling of the physics of light-matter interactions, particularly knotted light fields with dilute atomic vapours.

The post forms a cornerstone in an extremely unusual and exciting programme grant entitled SPOCK: Scientific Properties Of Complex Knots, involving the appointment of eleven other researchers (three more Research Associates and eight PhD students) at the Universities of Durham and Bristol. The programme is a major interdisciplinary collaboration across Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Bioscience, Anthropology and Computer Science.

This particular interdisciplinary post is initially associated with investigating ways to map the topologically complex properties of the light field onto the state of the atomic ensemble in future experiments. It will begin under the supervision of Prof. Ifan Hughes, Prof. Gordon Love, Dr. Simon Gardiner (Department of Physics) and Prof. Paul Sutcliffe (Department of Mathematical Sciences). The postholder will liaise with the other members of the SPOCK team and assist in the guidance of the team of PhD students.

A novel and important feature is that the postholder will be expected to adopt a roaming role and become involved with other aspects of the SPOCK project over the four year timescale: in particular, this will require a significant contribution to a sub-project concerning the modelling of knot assembly in supramolecular materials.

Application process:

Applications for this position are through the University website at https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/apply/ using reference number 3577, and should include a CV, the contact details of three referees and a cover letter detailing relevant experience.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Prof. Ifan Hughes (i.g.hughes@durham.ac.uk). Click here for a direct link to the application webpage.

PhD: Numerical simulation of knotted fields in nonlinear partial differential equations

PhD position: Numerical simulation of knotted fields in nonlinear partial differential equations

This position has been filled.

Applications are sought for a PhD student to work with Prof. Paul Sutcliffe and Dr. Andrew Lobb (both in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Durham University) as part of the interdisciplinary Leverhulme Trust funded project SPOCK: Scientific Properties Of Complex Knots, co-hosted by the Universities of Durham and Bristol.

The studentship includes provision of full fees and a stipend at the Research Councils’ standard rate for four years. The student will form part of an integrated interdisciplinary team on this unique and fascinating project alongside a further three PhD students and two postdoctoral researchers at Durham, and corresponding complementary team at Bristol. The overall aim of the SPOCK project is to develop a new mathematical and conceptual toolkit for the study of topological complexity in physical systems via an interdisciplinary interaction between experimentalists, modellers and mathematicians.

The role of this PhD student will be to investigate the structure and dynamics of knotted fields that appear as solutions to nonlinear partial differential equations, which often arise from the modelling of physical phenomena. This work will include a significant numerical component, so some previous experience in a programming language such as C++ or python would be advantageous, though not a prerequisite. A willingness to learn and apply numerical methods together with more analytic mathematical techniques and ideas is more important than previous programming experience.

The PhD student will be registered in Durham and will have access to a wide range of world class facilities including high-performance computer provision. The post-holder will also have the opportunity to collaborate and integrate with PhD students and postdoctoral researchers in the Bristol branch of the project and to access facilities there. The student will receive interdisciplinary training across the mathematics, physics, chemistry and biochemistry interfaces. The student will also be expected to draft manuscripts and present work at both team meetings and conferences.

Applicants should have (by the date of appointment) a good first or upper second class undergraduate Masters degree in a subject with a significant mathematical content. We are looking for someone with a good capacity for original and analytical thinking, who is highly motivated, and works well in a team. An aptitude for pure and applied mathematics and an open mind to collaboration outside of discipline boundaries are essential in this unique and exciting project.

Applications for this position are through the University Graduate School website at https://www.dur.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/ and should include a CV, the contact details of two referees and a cover letter detailing relevant experience. Informal enquiries should be directed to Prof. Paul Sutcliffe (p.m.sutcliffe@durham.ac.uk).

Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled.

Closing date for Research Associate positions: 1 June 2014.

PhD applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the positions are filled.

The successful candidates will be active in a number of carefully selected interdisciplinary sub-projects, where experimentalists, theorists and mathematicians can work together in identifying and solving problems in applied knot theory. The aim of the project is to create new computational tools and mathematical techniques for the analysis, synthesis and exploitation of knotted structures in a wide range of complex physical phenomena. All members of the research team will work closely together, being co-located within the Department of Mathematical Sciences.

Details of the Bristol Research Associate positions are available here.

For more information about the Bristol PhD positions the contact details are here.


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