Curved-Space Billiards


Come enjoy a purely intrinsic look at non-Euclidean space. During the talk itself, a volunteer or two will don a VR headset to try their hand at billiards in 3D spherical, Euclidean and hyperbolic spaces, with the rest of the audience following along on the lecture hall’s main screen. Even experienced geometers may find some surprising optical effects, which will all be explained. We'll then go on to consider the results of an experiment that illustrates how deeply our perception of space depends not only on our binocular vision, but also on what's going on in our minds. Finally, going beyond the question of what we would see in these spaces, we'll address the question of how they would feel to our bodies, leading to the surprising issue of body coherence in non-Euclidean VR simulations. The VR Billiards game will remain available for the hour after the talk, so as many people as possible may experience non-Euclidean billiards for themselves. (I can also let people try the VR Billiards on Wednesday morning, upon request.)no abstract available

Katharina Matschke

MPI for Mathematics in the Sciences Contact via Mail

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