Where Science Inspires Art and Art Informs Science

Digital images by Harvard physics and chemistry professor Eric J. Heller. His digital abstract art is inspired by a world we cannot directly see; the quantum realm of electrons, atoms, and molecules. The strange, often chaotic quantum domain yields forms, which he uses as a medium, creating images which convey the mystery of quantum physics.
Artist Statement:

Art has a unique capacity convey insights, intuitively and emotionally, about complex subject matter. If there is a short circuit to wisdom, it is through art. I try to exploit the powers of art to relate secrets of Nature only recently uncovered. A key element in my work is exploitation of Nature’s almost narcissistic self-similarity, her repetition of pattern on vastly different scales and in radically different contexts.

The image above is inspired by electron flow experiments.

This quasi-crystal image is a superposition of 21 plane waves.

Incredible image showing all aspects of waves acting together: reflection, diffraction and resonance.

Torus IV is a projection onto two dimensions from the four dimensional space in which the two-dimensional torus is embedded.

The image represents the interaction of two vibrational modes of a molecule.

A perfectly regular and predictable crystalline array displays surprising complexity when viewed at a typical angle.

In Rotating Rotator I, the tracks of three different four-segment rotators are seen, as they proceed from bottom to top in the image.

Here’s a three-dimensional image, plotted in two dimensions, of a four-dimensional object.

An image depicting the effect of the changing speed of deep water ocean waves traveling through a region with current eddies.

The above image shows random superpositions of waves on the surface of a sphere.

In the lower right, short semiconductor electron tracks are recorded from several different starting points. Another manifestation of chaos is seen in the moon.

All photos Courtesy of Eric J. Heller,  © Eric J. Heller



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A photo blog focused on the unique things of the world, exploring a number of different subjects such as art, photography, architecture and travel.

3 thoughts on “Where Science Inspires Art and Art Informs Science”

  1. Having a high school aged daughter agonizing over whether to pursue her artistic talent or her avid interest in science, this is a wonderful inspiration to pass along, not to mention the perfect assurance that she need not abandon one for the other.

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