In the mathematical theory of knots, the stick number is a knot invariant that intuitively gives the smallest number of straight "sticks" stuck end to end needed to form a knot. Specifically, given any knot K, the stick number of K, denoted by stick(K), is the smallest number of edges of a polygonal path equivalent to K.
Six is the lowest stick number for any nontrivial knot. There are few knots whose stick number can be determined exactly. Gyo Taek Jin determined the stick number of a (p, q)-torus knot T(p, q) in case the parameters p and q are not too far from each other (Jin 1997):
The same result was found independently around the same time by a research group around Colin Adams, but for a smaller range of parameters (Adams et al. 1997). They also found the following upper bound for the behavior of stick number under knot sum (Adams et al. 1997, Jin 1997):
The stick number of a knot K is related to its crossing number c(K) by the following inequalities (Negami 1991, Calvo 2001, Huh & Oh 2011):
Other articles related to "stick number, stick numbers":
... Stick numbers and composition of knots and links ... An upper bound on stick number of knots, J ...