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Gordian Distance and Complete Alexander Neighbors

Ana Wright, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


We call a knot K a complete Alexander neighbor if every possible Alexander polynomial is realized by a knot one crossing change away from K. It is unknown whether there exists a complete Alexander neighbor with nontrivial Alexander polynomial. We eliminate infinite families of knots with nontrivial Alexander polynomial from having this property and discuss possible strategies for unresolved cases.Additionally, we use a condition on determinants of knots one crossing change away from unknotting number one knots to improve KnotInfo’s unknotting number data on 11 and 12 crossing knots. Lickorish introduced an obstruction to unknotting number one, which proves the same result. However, we show that Lickorish’s obstruction does not subsume the obstruction coming from the condition on determinants.

Subject Area

Mathematics|Theoretical Mathematics

Recommended Citation

Wright, Ana, "Gordian Distance and Complete Alexander Neighbors" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI30488250.