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Elizabeth Denne, Professor of Mathematics

Office: 202 Chavis Hall
Phone: (540) 458 8064
Email: dennee at
Email is the most reliable way of reaching me.


I am a 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. I have been happily working at Washington & Lee University since July 2012, first as an assistant professor, from June 2015 as an associate professor, then from June 2022 as a full professor.

My CV/resume:


Winter 2022

  • Math 102 Calculus II
  • Math 222 Linear Algebra

Click here for more details about my teaching.

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

Mathematical Visualization


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). I also work with undergraduate students on research on folded ribbon knots and the mathematics of tie knots.

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….