A Rather Good T-Shirt

Title

A Rather Good T-Shirt

Subject

Awarded third place in the Graduate Image of Research Contest 2015
Semi-finalist in the Graduate Image of Research Contest 2015

Description

What is complexity? A complex shape or complex data might be organized across many scales, perhaps
with larger structures repeated at smaller scales, as in fractals. Or it may have order hidden within apparent
randomness - a chaotic system. A system producing complex data may be more flexible or adaptable than
one that can only produce simple data.
Many physiological systems show complex behavior, whose complexity can change with aging or
disease. For muscles, the ability to adapt complexity of output to meet changing goals might predict how
well a new task is learned. I study how complexity of initial performance predicts learning of new tasks
with lip and tongue muscles in healthy younger and older adults. Eventually, this work may lead to better
therapies for people with difficulties swallowing or speaking. The patterns overlain on the tongue and lips in the image are magnified sections of the Mandelbrot set, a
well-known fractal. The overall shape references the famous "butterfly effect" from the earliest studies of
chaos in weather, while the title alludes to Sir Terry Pratchett’s explanation of why scientists really study
chaos (Witches Abroad).

Creator

Christina Bronson-Lowe

Date

2015

Contributor

Dr. Daniel Bronson-Lowe

Rights

Copyright 2015 Christina Bronson-Lowe

Relation

Speech and Hearing Science

Original Format

tiff

Files

Bronson-Lowe_Christina.tif

Citation

Christina Bronson-Lowe, “A Rather Good T-Shirt,” Image of Research: Celebrating Student Research at Illinois, accessed November 20, 2017, http://imageofresearch.omeka.net/items/show/96.