Melinda Lanius from Mathematics for "The Banana of my Eye"
"The apple of my eye" is something I cherish above all others. As a mathematician I study minimally degenerate Poisson manifolds. You can think of a Poisson manifold as the skin of a fruit. Imagine an apple. You probably imagine a fruit with a shiny bright red facade. This pristine and perfect skin corresponds to a non-degenerate Poisson structure. As is true when picking out fruit at the grocery store, many Poisson manifolds aren't quite perfect, but come with dents and bruises. Given a fruit (Poisson manifold), with a minor blemish, I use calculus to try and understand the damage. Sometimes I can model this degeneracy and incorporate the blemish into the geometry. For instance, I can handle the depicted banana, splitting it apart to understand subtle nuances in the geometry that other mathematicians weren't able to see before. However, I am unable to grapple with the bruise on the pear. Through the lens of Poisson geometry, I come to see flawed fruit as perfect and pristine. While this fruit may appear bruised or defective to another mathematician, it becomes the apple - or perhaps I should say banana - of my eye.
The Image of Research is a multidisciplinary competition celebrating the diversity and breadth of graduate student research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Entries were judged by a multidisciplinary panel for connection between image, text, and research; originality, and visual impact. The winners were announced at a reception on Wednesday, April 5, where the entries of twenty semi-finalists were on display. Attendees voted for the People’s Choice Award. All of the 2017-2018 submissions will soon be on display in IDEALS. See The Image of Research website for more details at http://publish.illinois.edu/imageofresearch/. You can view a full gallery of the semi-finalists on Instagram.
The Image of Research is organized by the Scholarly Commons of the University Library and the Graduate College and is supported by a generous gift to the Scholarly Commons from the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.