February Public Lecture | Impossible Objects: The Mathematics of 3D Illusions

front of postcard for Sugihara lecture

The IMA will welcome Kokichi Sugihara, professor at Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan, for a public lecture on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 7 p.m. Sugihara will speak about the mathematics of 3D illusions.

Possessing such remarkable visual capabilities, humans believe they can always perceive and understand the shape of objects correctly. Under the phenomenon of visual illusion, however, what humans see differs from reality. “Impossible objects” are a type of 3D visual illusion that are 2D pictures which give the impression of having inconsistent 3D structures. But real 3D objects were later discovered, with the aid of mathematics, to give the impression of impossibility, such as impossible structures and impossible motions. In this lecture, Sugihara will show the various behaviors of “impossible objects,” together with the mathematics behind them, and consider why human perception is so easily fooled by these kinds of visual illusions.

Sugihara’s research involves Voronoi diagrams and their applications, robust implementation of geometric algorithms, computer vision and computer graphics, and mathematics in visual perception. He is known for his award-winning 3D optical illusions, winning first place at the Best Illusion of the Year contest in 2010 and 2013 and second place in 2015 and 2016, all of which were produced with a computer program he created.

The second lecture for the 2017-2018 series will be held in Coffman Memorial Union Theater, 300 Washington Ave. SE, East Bank, University of Minnesota.

Read more about IMA Public Lectures.