The Mathematics of Invisibility

A mathematics prof at my alma mater contributes to the scientific effort to cloak objects.

This effect struck me as inconvenient:

Their analysis also revealed another surprise: a person trying to look out of the cloak would effectively be faced with a mirror in every direction. If you can imagine Harry Potter’s own invisibility cloak working this way, and Harry turning on his flashlight to see, its light would shine right back at him, no matter where he pointed it.

Back to the drawing board, I suppose. Professor Greenleaf also cautioned:

“We should also keep in mind that, given the current technology, when we talk about invisibility, we’re talking only about being invisible at just a narrow range of wavelengths. For example, an object could be rendered invisible at just a specific wavelength of red; it would be visible in nearly every other color.”


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to The Mathematics of Invisibility

  1. Ephrem says:

    What if he held his flashlight down by his knees? The light would shine back on his knees, right?

  2. Todd says:

    If the cloaking field was all around the person, yes it would.

    It’s also part of the fallacy of a person being invisible. If it were true, no light would be able to get processed by the brain. The person would be blind.

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