|A shot of the campus after the rain|
As it turns out, it's as I suspected yesterday--there is an algorithm for turning knots into braids. It, too, was developed by Alexander. It involves separating a knot into the overcrossings and undercrossings, and then rearranging them into a closed braid. (It's still kind of complicated.) We also learned the Alexander polynomial, another link invariant. We tried an example of it, only to find that for some reason it didn't work with the trefoil knot... However, we proved it in the general case (meaning any possible knot). Don't ask me how that works. Apparently Johanna is going to look at more closely tonight and explain it to us tomorrow.
Also, it rained in the morning! It wasn't pouring like it was last week, but it was raining moderately hard, and so during our break I went outside. (Raymond called me crazy, but he just didn't appreciate the glorious raininess of the day. Some people miss out on so much.)
|The conclusion of the TA session|
In the TA session, we talked about closure and groups, and in particular groups of integers mod(n) under addition and multiplication (for the most part, they're groups under addition, but under multiplication they're only groups under special circumstances--when you only include integers that are relatively prime to the n in the mod(n)).
Today the clue for the dinosaur egg was "Help! I'm sinking!" The obvious answers were near an anchor (because the Vanderbilt motto is "anchor down") or by a sink. I knew there were at least two sinks open to everyone on the first floor, which was the only floor with non-gendered restrooms. Hummd pointed out to me during lunch that she'd also noticed a sink in the corner of the laundry room when we'd done our laundry on Sunday. After our Arete ended at 5:15, Miranda and I rushed down to the first floor to look for the egg. Our first stop was the laundry room, and wedged up in between all the pipes in the sink was, lo and behold, the egg. (Apparently I really frustrated a girl from S House who had gone to look for it about three minutes later.) I talked to Kelly at dinner, and she said that tomorrow the clue will probably be more open-ended, so that it's both a riddle and a scavenger hunt, not just a riddle. (For example, the first clue: there were about twenty pine trees near the Hank lawn, and the clue wasn't any more specific, so if you weren't lucky you had to search through all twenty of them.)