The Royal Society Young People’s Book Award was recently announced. The winners were author Clive Gifford and consultant Anil Seth for their book Eye Benders: the science of seeing and believing. A book looking at illusions and the intersect between neuroscience and the brain that produce such amazing impossible images. I did an interview with them recently, where they spoke about the book.
We felt that although there are quite a lot of optical illusion books out there already, very few of them made any great efforts to answer the key questions of how and why each illusion works. Books for children on the subject were especially culpable – often being just a gallery of illusions without any explanation. I was delighted when Hazel Songhurst and Georgia Amson-Bradshaw of the publishers, Ivy Kids, indicated that they wanted much more from Eye Benders. I was very keen on showing as much of the varied range of illusions as possible to get across to readers how there are a surprisingly wide range of different ways that our brains and sense of vision trick us or fall short. But also to use the illusions as a stepping stone to explaining some of the more fascinating aspects of our brains and vision systems. It meant a lot more hard work but proved fascinating. The book was written for children but from some of the road testing of spreads I conducted with friends’ families, it quickly became obvious that adults were just as fascinated in how the illusions worked as much as their offspring. – Clive Gifford
Make sure you check out this great book and the other 5 books that made up the award’s shortlist: The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2014 Nominees