Richard Taylor



Fractals in electronic and optical nano-devices

 Fractals in the Visual Sciences and Art: Fractal Expressionism

Teaching: PHYS 201
Teaching: PHYS 202

Teaching: PHYS 412 & 512
Teaching: PHYS 413 & 513

Teaching: PHYS 153

Teaching: Reading Class

Contact Information:

Richard Taylor
Associate Professor of Physics, Psychology, and Art
Department of Physics
University of Oregon

Eugene, OR 97403-1274,U.S.A.
Tel: +1-541-346-4741
Fax: +1-541-346-3422

Head of the Fractals Research Laboratory
Member of Materials Science Institute
Member of Institute of Cognitive and Decision Sciences
Affiliated Member of the Comparative Literature Faculty


B.Sc. Physics (1st Class Honours), 1985
Ph.D. Physics, 1989
C. Phys., 1989
Certificate of Art and Design, 1995
M. Art. Theory (1st Class Honours), 2000
C. Sci., 2004
D.Sc. Physics and Astronomy, 2004

Chaos and Fractals Research: Consisting of patterns which recur at increasingly fine magnifications, fractals have a profound impact on a diverse range of research fields (see my announcement "Mandelbrot awarded Procter Prize"). I adopt an inter-disciplinary approach to address fundamental questions about fractals and the chaotic processes that create them. My main projects investigate fractals in nano-science and visual science (see below) and feature an inter-play between basic and applied research. The research involves the Taylor-Linke Laboratory and collaborators in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden.

Fractals in electronic and optical nano-devices: The use of nanotechnology to construct semiconductor devices that are significantly smaller than commercial devices has a profound impact on the electrical current. The flow of electrons becomes chaotic, generating fractals in the device conductance. The origin of this unexplained phenomenon is the subject of my research. In addition we use nanotechnology to build devices that can control and adjust the chaos with precision. By cooling the devices to milli-Kelvin temperatures, classical chaos evolves in quantum chaos and the effect on the fractal conductance is studied. Investigations are being extended to chaos in optical devices. For more information see: Electronic and optical billiards (overview) and Electronic billiards (detail)

For recent publications in this area, click: Recent Publications

Fractals in the Visual Sciences and Art: Fractal Expressionism. My research has answered one of the great mysteries of modern art - the meaning behind Jackson Pollock's drip paintings. His patterns are fractal, sharing the same "fingerprint" as nature's scenery! This discovery raises crucial questions about human behavior. How was Pollock able to generate such intricate patterns? What is the visual impact of his fractals? Collaborations with perception and cognition psychologists investigate the human visual system's reaction to fractal images in nature and art. Projects include aesthetic judgement, pattern recognition and eye-tracking experiments. For more information see:

Fractal Expressionism Overview (html) (pdf)
Fractal Expressionism (Scientific American)
Fractal Expressionism (detail)

Previous applications of our techniques include a medical collaboration to analyze tissue patterns in the temporal region of the human brain and a Police collaboration to analyze crime distributions.

One of Pollock's Paintings
"Convergence: Number 10, 1952"
(The Albright-Knox Gallery)
For a description of my life in art and science see: "From Science to Art and Back"
For recent publications in this area, click: Recent Publications