Commence 3AM stream-of-consciousness ramblings about chemical elements:
Wow, the attention to detail in this pattern is pretty impressive! Each column nominally represents one of the groups/families of the periodic table... though while there are currently 18 recognized groups, this shirt only has 13 columns. So clearly, some stuff gets compressed/shifted - especially those pesky actinides and lanthanides, which even the regular periodic table never seems to know quite what to do with.
So let's see... in the first column, you've got Group 1, the Lithium group (H, Li, Na, K, Rb, Cs, Fr). It ends with Ac, though, which starts the actinides. Second column has Group 2, the Beryllium group (Be, Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, Ra), but then similarly ends with La, which starts the lanthanides. Hrm.
Third column includes Group 3 and Group 4, and it interestingly pulls lutetium (Lu) out of the lanthanides to join them... but misses rutherfordium (which should be right under halfnium). Seriously, I can't find it anywhere. I know it's lab-synthesized, but that's good enough for the periodic table!! Next actinide and lanthanide finish this column.
Similar things in the fourth column - Groups 5 and 6, but we're missing dubnium and seaborgium. Perhaps the artist doesn't like these newfangled lab elements that have been created willy-nilly since the 1960s and 1970s. The column ends with only an actinide this time, and is missing the lanthanide you'd expect (praseodymium).
Fifth column is Groups 7 and 8, but missing their newest members. Ends with an actinide and a lanthanide, because the odd columns have more slots for elements. I found praseodymium, which means the actinides and lanthanides are now offset from their expected positions.
Let's see if I can predict the sixth column! Ok, three from Group 9, three from Group 10, and... just the lanthanide. Clearly I cannot predict this. Seventh column is three from Group 11, three from Group 12, and then TWO lanthanides. I am so confused again. Eighth column is Group 13 plus two ACTINIDES. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. Ninth column is Group 14 plus two lanthanides and one actinide. Is this the Fibonacci sequence?! Tenth column is Group 15 plus two actinides because why the heck not? Eleventh column is Group 16 plus two actinides and a lanthanide. My brain is broken, thank god there's just two more columns. Twelve - Group 17, two lanthanides. Thirteen - Group 18 (hallelujah!!) and one each of the lanthanides and actinides.
All of the elements over 100 are missing, which is why I couldn't find rutherfordium. We're also missing some of the lanthanides under 100 - specifically, thulium and ytterbium. By the pattern, I guess they would've fallen off the right edge of the shirt. And I still don't get why lutetium is way up in the pattern, or really, on the shirt it all if Tm and Yb are missing? The columns had pretty clear, predictable structure until the bottom, where the actinides and lanthanides are in a confusing pattern. I couldn't discern the significance of the positions of the elements in either of those series, I'd love to know why they are arranged as they are.
It's still a design with clearly a ton of thought behind it, and I can't decide if staring at it for an hour has made me want it more... or want to never see it again because the argyle is driving me INSANE. ;)
Congrats on the win!