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Optics, Vision, and Evolution Colloqium

Jean-Pierre Eckmann at ICTP Sept. 17

Optics, Vision, and Evolution Colloqium
Optics, Vision, and Evolution Colloqium

16/09/2019 - Trieste

ICTP is pleased to be hosting a colloquium by Professor Jean-Pierre Eckmann, Physics and Mathematics at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. The talk will be held Tuesday 17 September 2019 at 16:30 hrs, in the Budinich Lecture Hall, Leonardo Building, ICTP.

The talk, entitled "Optics, Vision, and Evolution, after Mitchell Feigenbaum 1944-2019," will come from the perspective of Prof. Eckmann's work in many aspects of mathematical physics, such as ergodic theory of dynamicla systems, and heat conduction. It will cover the Feigenbaum's work, later in his career, on questions of both optics and visual perception, and the connections between the two.

All are welcome to attend this open event. There will be no livestreaming for this talk; refreshments will be available afterward in ICTP's main lobby.

Abstract: Some people in the audience may be aware of Feigenbaum's astonishing discovery of the universality of period doubling, and the constant delta=4.66920 which carries his name. However, Mitchell Feigenbaum worked, in the last 13 years of his life, on other subjects, and wrote the manuscript (in TeX) of a book the title of which is: "Reflections on a Tube". This is closely related to his life-long interest in optics and aspects of vision. It deals with the optics of images reflected in a cylindrical mirror (usually called anamorphic pictures). He shows that the eye does not interpret ray-tracing, but caustics. But there are two caustics, and therefore, the viewer can actually see two different images in two different places. The visual system will often prefer one over the other. The question is the "which" and "why"? Starting from this discovery, Feigenbaum derived other aspects of this observation, dealing with the vision of fish, the "broken" pencil in water, or aspects of the floor of swimming pools. All these examples show two possible images. His study shows how a question in classical optics can lead to the interesting question in perception and the visual system.