November 19, 2012
"Invisibility is an illusion, a way of manipulating light so that a hidden object cannot be perceived. In the same way that magicians use mirrors to make things disappear, we can now use metamaterials". Stated David Smith and Nathan Landy, Duke Researchers from Electrical and Computer Engineering. In a recent editorial piece published in the Gray Matter section of the Sunday edition of the New York Times on November 18th, 2012 Smith and Landy provide a perspective on the parallels of achieving invisibility through magic and through science. Read it here.
The Editorial piece presents a humbling view to the concept that "our eyes can be deceived so easily" by magic tricks using the example of a vanishing tiger "The answer has much to do with the way our sense of sight works. As we look around a room, our eyes detect the light that bounces off nearby people or objects, and our brains interpret the images formed from the patterns of light received. We can even figure out what material something is made of based on the way it reflects and transmits light: metal is opaque and typically very reflective; plastic, which is more dull and often translucent, absorbs some of the light and reflects the rest in all directions. Our brains, then, turn these signals from reflections into breathtakingly complex pictures of the world around us. And it all happens faster than the blink of an eye. Indeed, after every blink of an eye" explained Smith and Landy.