Topology of eeg wave fronts

Arturo Tozzi, Edward Bormashenko, Norbert Jausovec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whenever one attempts to comb a hairy ball flat, there will always be at least one tuft of hair at one point on the ball. This seemingly worthless sentence is an informal description of the hairy ball theorem, an invaluable mathematical weapon that has been proven useful to describe a variety of physical/biological processes/phenomena in terms of topology, rather than classical cause/effect relationships. In this paper we will focus on the electrical brain field—electroencephalogram (EEG). As a starting point we consider the recently-raised observation that, when electromagnetic oscillations propagate with a spherical wave front, there must be at least one point of the tangential components of the vector fields where the electromagnetic field vanishes. We show how this description holds also for the electric waves produced by the brain and detectable by EEG. Once located these zero-points in EEG traces, we confirm that they are able to modify the electric wave fronts detectable in the brain. This sheds new light on the functional features of a nonlinear, metastable nervous system at the edge of chaos, based on the neuroscientific model of Operational Architectonics of brain-mind functioning. As an example of practical application of this theorem, we provide testable previsions, suggesting the proper location of transcranial magnetic stimulation’s coils to improve the clinical outcomes of drug-resistant epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-896
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Neurodynamics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Electromagnetic
  • Epilepsy
  • Nervous activity
  • Poincaré–brouwer theorem
  • Topology


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