APS News

December 1999 (Volume 8, Number 11)

Creating Art from Classical and Quantum Chaos

Eric Heller stands beside one of his creations at APS Headquarters. (Photo by Barrie Ripin)
Eric Heller stands beside one of his creations at APS Headquarters. (Photo by Barrie Ripin)

A series of prints depicting images derived from classical and quantum chaos is currently on exhibit in the cafeteria at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD. Created by Eric Heller, a physicist at Harvard university, the exhibit was originally displayed as part of the APS Centennial meeting's Festival of Physics in March in Atlanta, GA. The prints were produced on an Epson 3000 inkjet printer from computer data generated in Fortran, Matlab and Mathematica.

Heller's interest in the field of chaos began with his investigation of standing quantum waves in a stadium shaped box, specifically the periodic orbits generated by a classical particle bouncing around the box. This "stadium billiard table" is shown on page 1. The image Heller is standing beside in the photo above depicts a Westervelt resonator, in which a plane wave impinges from below on a wall with a small slit. Beyond the wall is a circular mirror which causes narrow resonances to form at certain energies. Because the hole in this system is slightly off center, this resonance wavefunction has an asymmetrical shape.


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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette

December 1999 (Volume 8, Number 11)

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Articles in this Issue
William Brinkman Elected APS Vice President
Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science
Letters
'T Hooft and Voltman Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics; Zewail Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Inside the Beltway
Viewpoint
APS Members Serve, Research and Defend
Conceptualizing a New Degree
Festival Profile
The Back Page
New Faces at APS Headquarters
In Brief
Meeting Briefs
Physics Nobel Laureates Support CTBT
Physics and Technology Forefronts
Congressional Fellow Report
Beltway Briefs
Creating Art from Classical and Quantum Chaos
New Microscope for Materials