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Borromean rings

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In mathematics, the Borromean rings are three simple closed curves in three-dimensional space that are topologically linked and cannot be separated from each other, but that break apart into two unknotted and unlinked loops when any one of the three is cut or removed. Most commonly, these rings are drawn as three circles in the plane, in the pattern of a Venn diagram, alternatingly crossing over and under each other at the points where they cross. Other triples of curves are said to form the Borromean rings as long as they are topologically equivalent to the curves depicted in this drawing.

Realization of Borromean rings using ellipses

A monkey's fist knot

Link (knot theory)

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In mathematical knot theory, a link is a collection of knots which do not intersect, but which may be linked together. A knot can be described as a link with one component. Links and knots are studied in a branch of mathematics called knot theory. Implicit in this definition is that there is a trivial reference link, usually called the unlink, but the word is also sometimes used in context where there is no notion of a trivial link.

The Hopf link is cobordant to the unlink.