Julio M. Ottino is an artist, researcher, author, and educator at Northwestern University. Born in Argentina, Ottino grew up with twin interests in physical sciences and visual arts. He described science as “an island of stability in the sea of chaos that was Argentina in the 1970s.” He was attracted by the cleanliness of the concepts which were in stark contrast to most of the things that surrounded student life during those days. Art provided a cathartic means of expression. For more complete biographical information, see ArtScience: Creativity in the post-Google Generation.
Ottino’s scientific interests, and most of the early attention he received, can be traced back to work in chaos theory and applications to mixing, which he started exploring in the 1980s. Ottino’s seminal insights stemmed from a combination of scientific insight and visualization. Most recently he has been interested in the study of complex systems as well as the interplay of art, technology, and science.
An academic entrepreneur, Ottino founded university-wide initiatives in the area of design, entrepreneurship, and energy and sustainability. He was the founder and co-director of the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems. In 2008 he was listed as one of the “One Hundred Engineers of the Modern Era". He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and is a member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.