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An Electron Runs through It

Surprising rivulets and ripples complicate the microchip picture

Most paintings or prints lose their definition the closer you get to them. That doesn't happen when you put your nose near the arresting prints of Harvard University physicist Eric J. Heller. The closer you approach Heller's prints, which resemble swaying seaweed, rippling silks, and Georgia O'Keeffe flowers, the more refined the images get. By the standard artistic metrics of form, color, and composition, these are stunning artworks. Yet each one tells a scientific tale as well: Heller's prints depict the subtle interplay between some microchip electrons and the crystalline landscape in which they move.

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