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Mathematical Illusions

A Lesson in the Math + Fun! Series

Apr. 2007

Mathematical Illusions

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This presentation is part of the Math + Fun! series devised by Behrooz Parhami, Professor of Computer Engineering at University of California, Santa Barbara. It was first prepared for special lessons in mathematics at Goleta Family School during four school years (2003-07). Math + Fun! material can be used freely in teaching and other educational settings. Unauthorized uses are strictly prohibited. Behrooz Parhami

Edition First

Released Apr. 2007

Revised

Revised

Apr. 2007

Mathematical Illusions

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Apr. 2007

Are some of the squares bigger?

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Mathematical Illusions

Activity 1: Appearances May Be Deceiving

1. Which of the two vertical lines is longer? 2. Which of the two white squares is larger? 3. Draw a 9 v 11 rectangle and cut it along the dashed line, as shown. Slide the lower piece down and to the left. Cut out the small triangle that sticks out at the lower left and use it to fill the opening at the upper right. You get a 10 v 10 square.
Apr. 2007

Explain how the area of the figure increased from 99 to 100.

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Activity 2: Does 64 Equal 65?

Cut out an 8 v 8 square as shown and rearrange the pieces to form a 5 v 13 rectangle, thus proving 64 = 65. What is wrong with this?
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Hiding Pictures Within Pictures

Find the mans face.

Whats hiding in the trees?

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Morphing and Mutation

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Mathematical Illusions

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Morphing Images on a Computer

See Tiger Face Morph and other video clips at: http://creativesam.tfcentral.com/Animations.html
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Illusion of Motion

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Mathematical Illusions

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Ambiguous Images

A B

Man playing saxophone or girls face?

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Rabbit or bird?
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What Do You See in These Pretty Patterns?

Fix your stare at a specific point and describe what you experience. Repeat the process, this time slowly moving your head back and forth.
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Impossible Designs

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Mathematical Illusions

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Impossible Objects

Swedish stamp

How many legs does this elephant have?

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Illusion of Distortion

Horizontal lines appear slanted in the middle portion of the diagram Vertical lines appear crooked, but they are perfectly straight
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Which line on the left is a continuation of the one on the right?

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Mathematical Illusions

3D Illusions

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Mathematical Illusions

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Illusion of Distortion or Deformation

The figure on the right spins when you view this page in a slide show. Notice how the shape is deformed as it spins.

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Activity 3: Experiencing Distortion

In each of the following diagrams, use a ruler and pencil to connect the black dots on either side using two horizontal lines. Explain what you see.

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Mathematical Illusions

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Activity 4: Where Does the Sixth Box Go?

Cut along the dashed line . . .

What happened to one of the boxes?

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Activity 5: Making People Appear and Disappear

1. Count the people in the picture to the right and write the number down. 2. The upper half of the picture is redrawn below. Cut out the rectangular pieces 1 and 2 by cutting along the dashed lines. 3. Now, put the two cut-out pieces in reverse order on the picture above, covering the original pieces (piece 1 on the right and piece 2 on the left). 4. Recount the number of people and explain what happened.
3
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Next Lesson
Late May or early June 2007

Apr. 2007

Mathematical Illusions

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