On the eve of World Space Week, on October 2 at 1 p.m., Professor in Physics Jaak Kikas will open his exhibition "Katoptromania. Pareidolic study of temples and demons around us" in Tõravere at the UT Tartu Observatory. The focus of the exhibition is on the mind games founded on mirror symmetry and it will stay at the observatory until the end of the year.
Kikas explained that the main title mirror symmetry means 'madness of mirrors': katoptro- (Greek κάτοπτρον (kátoptron) 'mirror') mania (Greek μανία) 'madness').
A striking example of the magic of quantum theory is mirror symmetry— a truly astonishing equivalence of spaces that has revolutionized geometry. Mirror symmetry and its violation play an important role in the world of fundamental particles that underlie the diversity of the material world around us. In nature, mirror symmetry can be found in animals – potential preys, predators, rivals, or the variety of the opposite gender, whereby recognizing the latter can be the decision-maker of the survival of the one recognizing. If mirror symmetry is found in something inanimate, it can be an artificial object, something that other people have created, like buildings or devices. Maybe we can even find mirror symmetry in space?
This is why our brain has been trained to see mirror symmetry in all kinds of situations. And it does. And – for example – interprets it as another living being, even if it's not. This is a phenomena known as pareidolic. An easy way to give your brain a chance to play these sort of brain games is to take a photo and replace one side of it with the reflection of another. This is how the author has acted. The brain games and joy of discovering is left to the viewer.
World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition. The United Nations General Assembly declared in 1999 that World Space Week will be held each year from October 4-10. These dates commemorate two events: Launch of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957; and The signing of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activites of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies on October 10, 1967.
All the World Space Week events held in Estonia can be seen on the webpage of the event.