ART AND SCIENCE
I do both, I really can't help it. I feel deep connections, and sometimes can't tell whether I'm doing one or the other. The reason is my art all derives from my research. I "paint" with electron flow. Chaos in its dynamical forms (not pretty picture hunting in fractals) can become an artists medium. I feel an urge to convey to others, non-scientists and scientists alike, where I've been and how I feel about it, almost as if I were a landscape painter.
The viewing public has various reactions to my work, as with any artist. Mostly positive, but the negative ones strangely delight me the most. Like the Washington Post art critic in who critiqued my work in a show at the National Academy of Science, by stating "...Heller's rainbow-colored designs, based on computer algorithms, reek a little too much of a bongwater-soaked college dorm room". I love that one and quote it playfully when I give talks on my work. Another was from a reviewer of a National Science Foundation proposal of mine, for work in quantum mechanics. You are asked to do "public outreach" these days, which I do gladly through my art. One reviewer said "I have seen Heller's exhibits, and they are not art." He/she gave me a low rating on the rest of the proposal too (surprise), and it was not funded. With some people, science and art don't mix all that well.
I am proud to be an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.