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Is It Magic, or Is It Science?

WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology

December 2013

Explore the surprising tricks mirrors can play on your brain! The special exhibition Mirror Mysteries: Science of Reflection, now on display at the WonderLab Museum in Bloomington, offers such unexpected experiences as "seeing" your head on a platter on a table while your body is nowhere to been seen under the table, or your body "flying" above the ground even though you are firmly standing on the ground. Particularly tempting is a pile of money that isn't where it appears to be when you reach out to grab it.

"This exhibition is all about taking an ordinary experience, such as looking into a mirror, and making it an extraordinary experience. You see images in places where you don't expect them, or images that are distorted. It's all about understanding how the properties of the reflection of light make this happen to trick our brains," said Catherine Olmer, WonderLab executive director of the interactive science museum.

The exhibition also includes a praxinoscope, which demonstrates how a rapid succession of reflections produces an animated image, a curved mirror that allows you to shake hands with yourself using just one hand, and a mirror walkway where you can see your own image repeated into infinity. Preschool children will delight in using periscopes for looking over and around corners, seeing their images distorted by concave and convex mirrors, and crawling through a mirrored kaleidoscope tunnel. Parents will be fascinated to observe how a flat mirror can reveal an important shift in an infant's identity development.

WonderLab is an award-winning science center located at 308 West Fourth Street in the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District (BEAD). In addition to the special exhibition, visitors will find several programs scheduled throughout the winter holiday on the museum's events calendar. For more information, call WonderLab Visitor Services at 812-337-1337 ext. 25.

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