85 Ways to Tie A Rapper Knot

Mike Whitehead of Bristol Morris Men writes:

A few years ago a book called ‘The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie’ was published. It describes how two mathematicians devised literally dozens of new ways of tying a necktie, using a branch of maths called Topology. For a long time I have been fascinated by the possibility of the same maths being used to devise new rapper figures.

Topology is about the behaviour of surfaces, see for example the Mobius Band in the form of a Trefoil Knot on the British Topology Home Page at www.maths.gla.ac.uk/~ajb/btop.phtml. It seems to me that, just as a necktie is a surface to be manipulated by topology, then a rapper set of five men joined in a ring by swords is also a surface that could be manipulated by topology. If a necktie can be studied mathematically to create new knots, then it seems to me that a rapper set might similarly be studied to create new rapper figures.

I'm not clever enough to learn topology myself, but there are mathematicians out there with the necessary skills who might be interested in having a go at applying topology to rapper figures.

The British Topology Home Page includes a database of topologists and there are three in UK who declare an interest in Knot Theory. So if there is a rapper side out there who might be interested in exploring this idea with a topologist, the results could be very interesting!

If any rapper side is interested in exploring this fascinating idea, I'd love to hear from you – please ring me on 01454 417809 or email me at keateswhitehead AT tiscali.co.uk. In the meantime I'll get in touch on similar lines with the topologists.