The event takes place on Friday 22 May 2015 at 6pm, Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College, 12 Winchester Street, Merivale.
Scientists have today worked out how to manipulate the path of light rays so as to render objects invisible. This is sometimes said to be the realization of an old dream; but the stories that we have told about invisibility are not stories of a technical capability but of power, desire, concealment, morality and corruption. What are these old tales of invisibility really saying, and how has the scientific understanding of light influenced them? From a history of invisibility that encompasses Plato, magic, spiritualism and Victorian physics, H. G. Wells, cinematography and the emerging new science of metamaterials, it can be seen that ideas of invisibility are, like all ideas rooted in legend, ultimately parables about our own hopes and fears.
Listen to Philip talk to Kim Hill on Invisibility and Curiosity, Saturday 9 May, Saturday Morning, Radio New Zealand National.
Search our catalogue for books by Philip Ball.