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November
Exhibition at Science Museum challenges perceptions
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A collection of amazing eye-popping illusions that challenge common conceptions will be showcased at the Hong Kong Science Museum from tomorrow (November 26) to March 26, next year.

The special exhibition, "Optical Illusion", featuring structures and images that fool visitors' eyes and brains provide endless enjoyment, and fascinating insights to one of science’s greatest mysteries – how we think and perceive.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the exhibition today (November 25), the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Anissa Wong Sean-yee, said the Science Museum had been committing itself to popularise science knowledge. This exhibition provides an opportunity for people to have a better understanding of the human perceptual system through a series of deceptive and misleading illusions.

"On display includes a waterfall in which water drops hang, rise or zigzag across the air; a speeding model train that vanishes into nowhere; impossible objects and figures that defy common sense; static images and patterns that move and drift, pulsate and scintillate, and straight lines that wave and bend, as well as interactive items for visitors to experience different visual tricks."

"I believe these optical illusions will not only fascinate visitors but also enable us to think about the meaning of the adage 'Seeing is Believing'," Ms Wong said.

Most of us take vision for granted. We seem to do it so effortlessly. However perceiving images, objects and motion is a very complicated process.

Visual perception is essentially an ambiguity solving process. Sometimes, an illusion occurs when there is not enough information in the image to resolve the ambiguity. For example, important clues that would normally be present to resolve the ambiguity are missing. Other illusions take place because an image violates a constraint based on an underlying regularity of our world. In other cases, illusions occur because two or more different constraints are in conflict. This means that our visual system can interpret the scene in more than one way.

For vision scientists, studying illusions is to understand normal vision processing and to reveal the hidden constrains of our perceptual system in a way that normal vision cannot. Vision science has become one of the most exciting areas in modern research.

To coincide with the exhibition and to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Science Museum, a series of activities will be organised. Among which, a photo collection campaign will be held from now until January 31, next year. People are invited to contribute photos taken during their visits to the Science Museum. The photos collected will be built a large Photo Mosaic for display at the museum. For details, visit the Science Museum's website at http://hk.science.museum/ or call 2732 3223.

Admission to the "Optical Illusion" exhibition is $20 with half-price concession for full-time students, people with disabilities and senior citizens aged 60 or above. There is no free admission on Wednesdays.

The Science Museum is located at 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon. It is open from 1pm to 9pm from Monday to Friday, and from 10am to 9pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. On Christmas Eve and Chinese New Year’s Eve, the museum will close at 5pm. It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays) and the first two days of the Chinese New Year.

For details of the exhibition and related programmes, visit the Science Museum's website. For enquiries, please call 2732 3232.

Ends/Friday, November 25, 2005
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