In mathematics **Alexander's theorem** states that every knot or link can be represented as a closed braid. The theorem is named after James Waddell Alexander II, who published its proof in 1923.

Braids were first considered as a tool of knot theory by Alexander. His theorem gives a positive answer to the question *Is it always possible to transform a given knot into a closed braid?* A good construction example is found on page 130 of Adams's The Knot book (see ref. below). However, the correspondence between knots and braids is clearly not one-to-one: a knot may have many braid representations. For example, conjugate braids yield equivalent knots. This leads to a second fundamental question: *which closed braids represent the same knot type?*

- That question is addressed in Markov's theorem, which gives ‘moves’ relating any two closed braids that represent the same knot.

## References

- Alexander, James (1923). "A lemma on a system of knotted curves".
*Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA*.**9**: 93–95. doi:10.1073/pnas.9.3.93. - Sossinsky, A. B. (2002).
*Knots: Mathematics with a Twist*. Harvard University Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780674009448. - Adams, Colin C.
*The Knot Book*. AMS. p. 130.