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 Knitting as seen by a physicist
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Seriously Hooked

913 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2005 :  10:29:38 PM  Show Profile Send Gelliott a Private Message
I thought I'd share a passage from a favorite book:

"...Dirac was watching Anna Kapitza knitting while he was talking knitting to Peter. A couple of hours after he left, Dirac rushed back, very excited. 'You know, Anya,' he said, 'watching the way you were making this sweater I got interested in the topological aspect of the problem. I found that there is another way of doing it and that there are only two possible ways. One is the one you were using; another is like that...' And he demonstrated the other way, using his long, thin fingers. His newly discovered 'other way,' Anya informed him, is well known to women and is none other than 'purling.' "
Thirty Years that Shook Physics (George Gamow) p.122

I love that fact that a Nobel Prize-winning physicist got excited about the structure of knit and purl stitches.

If anyone knows of any other scientists/mathematicians who showed an interest in knitting, please share!
(I realize now that probably this goes under the "celebrities" thread?? I'd be glad to move it if someone could tell me how to do so without retyping it all!)


Seriously Hooked

965 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2005 :  10:44:32 PM  Show Profile Send gibsongirl a Private Message
I don't know offhand of other famous scientists who've written on the subject of knitting, but you should read Amanda's (Atavistic's) post on what her Mr. Aerospace thinks of her knitting. Quite entertaining, in a similar vein of thought.


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of troy
Permanent Resident

2474 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2005 :  07:10:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit of troy's Homepage Send of troy a Private Message
if you search geek knitting (or search the passage you added) you'll find other threads about (and links to information about)
celluar autamaton knitting
DNA scarf
an essay: Hex and Bin, met my friends Knit and Purl, about how to translate ASCII code into binary, and from binary into knit and purls and then to 'knit' messages into your knitting.
and links to Moebius knitting (and Klein bottle hats) and lots of other 'geek knitting'

See my photo albums, (edit-NO PASSWORD REQUIRED)
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Gabber Extraordinaire

445 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2005 :  12:36:36 PM  Show Profile Send MindfulKnitter a Private Message
Great passage, Gelliott! Jennifer was familiar with it, but it was new to me. Very interesting. Thanks for posting it.

Best wishes,
Patty and Jennifer

To know even one life has breathed easier because you lived . . . this is to have succeeded.
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Gabber Extraordinaire

436 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2005 :  9:04:03 PM  Show Profile Send kristajo a Private Message
I saw a newspaper article online a while back in which the author was very surprised at the amount of mental math that a knitter engages upon. The argument was that your grandmother should stop telling you how she's stupid and can't do math because she's doing all kinds of complicated mathematical operations every time she knits a sweater. So not physics, but close enough! Does anybody have the link? I couldn't find it....

Krista Jo
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