One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A polynomial in one variable that can be constructed for any knot (based on the number and type of crossings present in a two-dimensional representation of the knot), and is the same for any two knots which are topologically equivalent.
1930s; earliest use found in American Journal of Mathematics. From the name of James Waddell Alexander, U.S. mathematician, who suggested this method of characterizing knots in 1928 + polynomial.
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