President Maria Klawe’s Art

A sampling of President Maria Klawe’s art work, and her thoughts about art, math and science.

I’ve been painting and drawing for as long as I can remember. I found it hard to choose between a career in art and a career in math/science. I eventually opted for math/science because I thought it would be easier to do art on the side than math/science on the side.

I took a number of fine arts courses while in university but was quite discouraged by the attitude of the faculty toward students majoring in science (they felt science students shouldn’t be allowed in courses for those majoring in fine arts). As I became a professional mathematician and then a computer scientist, it became clear that also being an artist would diminish my credibility (already in question because of being female), so I kept my painting secret. When I turned 40, I decided to come out of the closet and I hung several of my paintings in my office as well as in my home.

Today, I show paintings whenever I try to recruit students to engineering. I want them to know that many leading engineers and scientists are artists, musicians, dancers, or writers. Engineering and science are creative disciplines. It shouldn’t be surprising that the creative energy, passion, and talent cross into other areas. I can’t imagine living without painting. It’s a form of expression of ideas and emotion that I cannot express through any other medium.

Text from EQuad News, the magazine of Princeton University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.