Geek Trivia

Fink-Mao Notation Is Used To Describe What?

Tie Knots
Sound Propagation
Monetary Inflation
Network Latency
Vocal Pauses Like "Uh" and "Um" Are Known As?

Answer: Tie Knots

Every morning millions of men across the globe put on a neck tie as part of their business attire.  The vast majority of them knot their tie with one of four commonly-used tie knots: the Windsor, the half-Windsor, the Pratt (Shelby) knot, or the four-in-hand.  But is that the limit for how a tie can be draped and knotted?

Per the research of two scientists at Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, not even close.  In the late 1990s researchers Thomas Fink and Yong Mao used mathematical modeling to explore how many plausible tie knot combinations there were.  They threw out knots that resulted in a tie that was more knot than loose tie, or that would otherwise use too much of the fabric.

The end result was a set of 85 knots that could be employed in the knot-tying arsenal of a real (if fashion-forward) gentleman.  The notation they used to describe the knots generated by their modeling application is known as none other than the Fink-Mao notation.