Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String

With regard to yesterday’s piece on tangle-resistant earphone cables, here’s a 2007 paper on the spontaneous formation of knots in jostled strings. The conclusion, in brief, is that the stiffer the string, the fewer the knots. The authors won the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize for Physics for this paper. (Thanks to Rupert Nash.)

(Speaking of yesterday’s piece, I added a small update this morning.)

Friday, 7 November 2008