nLab
trefoil knot

The trefoil knot is a famous knot. One of the reasons is that in the list of knots, ordered by crossing number, it is the first ‘real’ knot one meets, being the simplest non-trivial knot. (The first knot listed is usually the ‘unknot’, i.e. the unknotted circle.) The trefoil has crossing number 3.

Here is a traditional view:

Here is a depiction with bridge number 2:

The knot group of the trefoil knot (calculated either by the Dehn or Wirtinger presentations) has two very useful presentations:

  • x,yxyx=yxy\langle x,y \mid x y x=y x y\rangle, which is the braid group, Br 3;

  • a,ba 2=b 3\langle a,b | a^2= b^3\rangle, in which the pair of numbers, (2,3)(2,3) is apparent. These reflect the fact that the trefoil is a (2,3)(2,3)-torus knot. (Of course, it is also a (3,2)-torus knot.)

Revised on December 5, 2011 20:17:28 by Tim Porter (95.147.237.179)