Dr. Dan Fortenbacher did a wonderful blog about the awe of depth perception, with a video clip of his patient Chuck working in stereoscopic 3D for the first time which he described as “far out”. For Chuck this is clearly an immersive experience that engages all his senses.
John Tyndall was a Victorian era scientist literally responsible for “blue sky thinking” – also known as the Tyndall Effect. Here he is pictured on your right, with his famous colleagues (from left to right): Faraday, Huxley, Brewster, and Wheatstone.
Brewster and Wheatstone were, of course, pioneers in stereoscopic effects, and have their names affixed to stereoscopes. The photo above comes from a fascinating new book on Tyndall, and I rather like the description of him on the front cover as a public intellectual.
An individual who qualifies as a public intellectual in our time is Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Susan Barry, with her specialization in stereovision and neuronal plasticity. The people entry on her Mount Holyoke faculty website captures the awe of stereopsis:
“In 2002, Barry embarked on a program of optometric vision therapy that taught her how to aim her two eyes at the same point in space. To her astonishment, her vision changed and her view transformed in ways that she could not previously have imagined. Large buildings on street corners loomed out toward her like the bows of giant ships. Tree branches reached upward and outward capturing palpable volumes of space through which the inner branches permeated. Barry was seeing in stereo depth for the first time. This experience has led Barry to re-examine the subject of adult neuronal plasticity and rehabilitation, subjects she stresses both in her neurobiology classes and in her own writing.”
The story of “Stereo Sue” continues to capture the public eye, most recently in this citation from the American Academy of Ophthalmology that was entered into the EyeWiki International Ophthalmologists Contest 2018.