In the mathematical theory of knots, the stick number is a knot invariant that intuitively gives the smallest number of straight "sticks" stuck end to end needed to form a knot. Specifically, given any knot K, the stick number of K, denoted by stick(K), is the smallest number of edges of a polygonal path equivalent to K.
Six is the lowest stick number for any nontrivial knot. There are few knots whose stick number can be determined exactly. Gyo Taek Jin determined the stick number of a (p, q)-torus knot T(p, q) in case the parameters p and q are not too far from each other (Jin 1997):
These inequalities are both tight for the trefoil knot, which has a crossing number of 3 and a stick number of 6.
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