Marc Lackenby is a mathematician who specializes in knot theory, among other things.
In knot theory, writhe refers to the amount of “coil” in a knot. I’m not a knot theorist (nor do I play one on TV), but my interpretation of coil is the number of crossings that can be unwound without untying any part of the knot. Read more about it here, if you’re curious.
I’m also not an arach manu scientist, but by increasing the writhe I believe Aeronwy intends to set up a sort of springback event where the knot explodes itself. We’ll see if it works…
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