The Thousands Of Ways To Tie A Tie

NPR's Scott Simon notes a mathematician has calculated that there are 177,147 ways to tie a tie.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


Men's ties: Some people look at them around a man's neck and see some kind of fashion statement - stripes, solid, or dots, bow, four-in-hand, or Windsor knot? But Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson, a Swedish mathematician, sees more possibilities. He's told the ACM Symposium on Computational Geometry, which you'd think might have better things to do, that he's calculated that there are 177,147 ways to tie a tie. Previous researchers had said only 85 varieties of knots were possible. Did they lack silk or vision? Mr. Vejdemo-Johansson came up with multiple tucks and up to 11 winds to reach his expanded number. Some of them appear to be as intricate as instructions for open heart surgery. But would you like to actually wear most of his ties around your neck? The mathematician told New Scientist magazine: I have tried 10 or 20 of them and most of them to be quite honest look kind of awkward.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.