Math 242: Topology - Knot Theory

Instructor: Constance Leidy
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:40-4:00pm
Location: Exley 618
Office: Exley 641
Office Hours: Mondays, 2:30-3:30pm
Book: The Knot Book by Colin C. Adams
E-Mail Address:

Course Description

This course is an introduction to topology, the study of space in a general sense. We will approach topology through knot theory, the study of embeddings of a circle in a 3-dimensional space.


Homework is an important part of any math class. It is important that you practice doing the problems. This will help you to understand the material better and will prepare you for the exams. You are encouraged to discuss the homework, and to work together on the problems. However each student is responsible for the final preparation of his or her own homework papers.

Homework will be assigned at the end of every class and typically will be posted on It will be due weekly, generally on Tuesdays.


Four projects will be assigned throughout the semester. Each project will have two parts. The first part will introduce a knot theory concept that is not covered in the book. This part is required. The second part will related this concept to a question that I don't know the answer to. This part of the project will be worth extra credit and could potentially lead to an honors project or even a published math paper.


There will be a take-home midterm and a take-home final exam. The midterm will be handed out on Thursday, October 23 and will be due Thursday, October 30. The final will be handed out on the last day of class, Thursday, December 4, and will be due Monday, December 15.

Course Grade Determination

The course grade will be computed as follows:

  • Homework - 40%
  • Projects - 20%
  • Midterm - 20%
  • Final - 20%

  • Office Hours

    I will hold office hours Mondays 2:30-3:30pm, but am often available in my office. You can also always email me at to make an appointment.

    Students with Disabilites

    It is the policy of Wesleyan University to provide reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities. Students, however, are responsible for registering with Disabilities Services, in addition to making requests known to me in a timely manner. If you require accommodations in this class, please make an appointment with me during the first two weeks of class, so that appropriate arrangements can be made. All discussions will remain confidential. Students with disabilities should also contact Dean Lazare. Please see for more information.