Elizabeth Denne
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics
Washington & Lee University

Office: 202 Robinson Hall
Phone: (540) 458 8064
Email: dennee at wlu.edu
Email is the most reliable way of reaching me.
Brunnian 4 link from Knotplot


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Washington & Lee University.

I am originally from Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with B.Sc. (Hons) in pure mathematics. I was awarded my Ph.D. in May 2004 from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. My PhD advisor was John M. Sullivan. From July 2004 to June 2007 I was a Benjamin Peirce Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Harvard University and from July 2007 to June 2012 I was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Smith College.

My resume in pdf format (last updated 07/2012).


On sabbatical leave 2015-2016.

Click here for more details about my teaching.

Interested in Graduate school in the mathematical sciences? Click here for information.

Mathematical Visualization
From Math 341 Fall 2014.
Torus link (4,2) from the Knot Atlas.

I am interested in Geometric Knot Theory. My research uses topological knot invariants to answer questions about the geometry of knots. (For example, how much bend or twist does a knot have?) I'm also interested in optimization and finding ideal knot shapes. (For example, given a piece of rope of fixed diameter, how much length is needed to tie a knot? What shape is a tight knot?) My research has applications to biology (for example the shape of folded proteins and DNA) and to physics (for example classifying glueballs in particle physics).

Torus link (5,2) from the Knot Atlas.

Click here for preprints, publications and translations.

I also advise research projects for undergraduate students. Click here for more information.


Click here for more links. Here are some interesting things....