The New Book of Optical Illusions

The New Book of Optical Illusions

by Georg Ruschemeyer

Paperback

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Overview

The New Book of Optical Illusions is a mind-bending collection of 150 of the most significant optical phenomena, loosely grouped into 33 chapters according to particular visual effect.

An optical illusion has two elements. One is the perceived illusion, what you see. It may be merging lines, moving shapes or conflicting sizes. The other element is the scientific explanation or neuronal basis of the illusion. Here enters The New Book of Optical Illusions, which describes the latter--the science of an optical illusion.

Concise text describes the history of the optical illusions and their origin. Some are ancient (like a 3D Roman mosaic in a 2nd-century BC home on Malta) and others are modern (like emoticons and street art). There are rarely seen phenomena, works by great illusionists, like M.C. Escher, and well-known illusions like the Impossible Triangle and the Albert Einstein/Marilyn
Monroe portrait.

Some of the illusions are:

  • Seeing Things That Are Not There -- Discovered on a BBC studio wall in the 1950s, this illusion involves shadows that seem to flit up and down along columns of stripes. Apparently the number of identical lines causes the brain to lose proper focus on what it is seeing.
  • Flashes from the Corner of the Eye -- The Scintillating Grid is a variation of the classic Hermann Grid first described in 1870. In this illusion, circles in an intersecting grid disappear and reappear elsewhere. It is a complex effect rooted in lateral inhibition, which increases the contrast between light and dark in the retina.

Perfect for young and adult readers and enthusiasts of optical illusions, this is a great selection for circulating collections and retail customers.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781770855922
Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date: 09/22/2015
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 1,205,536
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Georg Ruschemeyer is a freelance journalist. He studied biology in Germany and at the University of Colorado. He is now working for leading German magazines, including GEO, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Zeitung, and others. He lives in England.


Table of Contents

Contents

    Totally Mind-Bending! (introduction)

    1 Flashes from the Corner of the Eye
    2 Rotating Snakes
    3 Zooming In Starts the Show
    4 Chessboard with a Bulge
    5 Seeing Things that Are Not There
    6 The False Bottom of Eye Vision
    7 The More Lopsided Tower of Pisa
    8 Locals Aren't Always Right
    9 Creating Space
    10 Crooked Parallels
    11 Archimedes's Nightmare
    12 Unequal Friends
    13 When Perspective Is Swept under the Table
    14 Among Giants and Dwarfs
    15 Look Who's Hiding
    16 Faces Everywhere
    17 Upside Down
    18 The Art of Tricking the Eye
    19 Up and Down the Stairs
    20 Impossible Triangle
    21 Uplifting Speech
    22 Streetlife
    23 What
    Comes Afterward
    24 Star and Stripes
    25 Shapes out of Nowhere
    26 Alphabetical Jumble
    27 When Green Reads Blue
    28 3D Visions
    29 What's Up, What's Down?
    30 Switching Sides
    31 Natural Fakes
    32 Hokus-Pokus Disappearibus
    33 In a Color Storm


Preface

Totally Mind-Bending!

Optical illusions are more than merely fun diversions. They also teach us how our eyes and brains work.

Humans are known to be visual creatures. What we see, however, is not an exact representation of our environment, but rather a mental construct that our brains piece together -- often made up of confused and incomplete information that appears before our eyes. In the process, we filter unimportant things out of our conscious perception and fill in the gaps to create a visual reality in which we can navigate effortlessly.

In real life, this works almost seamlessly. At times, however, we cannot trust our eyes, because they lead us to believe things that -- seen objectively -- cannot be. Such optical illusions are valuable instruments for studying the normal process of perception. And they are a lot of fun, too!

This book is not a scientific textbook. Rather,
it is a collection of the most significant phenomena, loosely grouped together according to particular visual effects. Each phenomenon is illustrated with one or several striking examples. Main examples are indicated by red spirals and longer texts, while gray spirals and shorter texts indicate additional examples.

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