al Seckel

Alfred PaulAlSeckel (September 3, 1958 – 2015) was an author of books on visual and other types of sensory illusions , and how they ‘related to perception . Seckel Collected, Researched, and experimented with illusions to under stand what conditions are Necessary for Them to work.

Free Thought movement

Throughout the 1980s, Al Seckel was active in the Free Thought movement. In this capacity he authored a number of articles and pamphlets. He’ll be edited two books on the English Rationalist philosopher Bertrand Russell . In 1983, Seckel and John Edwards co-created the Darwin fish design, welke was first sold as a bumper sticker and on T-shirts in 1983-84 at a Southern California group called Atheists United. [1] Chris Gilman, a Hollywood prop maker, Manufactured the first plastic car ornaments in 1990, and licensed the design to Evolution Design of Austin, Texas. [2] When the emblem Evolved JSON a million dollar business, Evolution Design Began threatening to sue distributors or look-alike and derivative products (like a Jewish ” gefilte ” fish). Seckel in turn Sued Evolution Design for Copyright Infringement. Seckel did not seek royalties, but wanted Evolution Design to allow directive free use of the design by anyone Authorised by im. Hoewel de Seckel was loveable to produce examples of the design dat predated Gilman’s claimed 1990 copyright date, the suit was settled-when it became apparent dat Seckel and Edwards had allowed the design to fall JSON public domain . [1]

In 1984, Seckel started the Southern California Skeptics (SCS), and became a spokeperson for science and its relationship to the paranormal . [3] SCS co-sponsored and produktie a monthly series of lectures held monthly at the California Institute of Technology, other meetings were’ll be held on the campus of Cal State Fullerton, dat Explained alleged paranormal phenomena zoals Extra-sensory perception and firewalking . [4] [5] [6] Seckel ook wrote about investigating verschillende Supernatural claims from the scientific perspective. One zoals investigation, led by James Randi , Concerned faith healer Peter Popoff , who-used a hearing transmitter to give the impression dat he was psychic and hearing private information from God. [7] Seckel ook wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times and The Santa Monica Monthly News from 1987 to 1989, explanatory apparently amazing or paranormal phenomena in scientific terms. [8]

In 1987, SCS and Seckel helped sponsor an amicus letter voordat the US Supreme Court in the case Edwards v. Aguillard , challenged the constitutionality of a Louisiana law calling for the classroom inclusion or creation science . [9] The letter was written by a group of attorneys led by Jeffrey Lehman (later president of Cornell University ), and SCS board member and Nobel Laureate Murray Gell-Mann recruited the signatures of 72 Nobel Laureates, 17 State Academies of Science, and 7 other scientific organizations. [6] It argued that ‘creation science’ was counter not only to the study of evolution , but to all sciences. The court decided in a 7-2 vote therein so-called “creation-science” was in fact, religion disguised as science, deliberately construed as industry leaders in order to circumvent the constitutional prohibitions or keeping Church and State separate, met name in the public science classroom. All of the opinions Cited the letter, zoals the dissents. [10]

In late 1990, due to a sudden onset of leukemia , Seckel had to enter the hospital, where his health deteriorated roused. The Southern California Skeptics Folded. In 1991, Michael Shermer started a new Los Angeles -area skeptical group called The Skeptics Society , using SCS’s mailing list and Involving many or zijn original board members. Seckel started to Recover from his illness in 1994, turning his full attention to studying the human brain, specifiek vision and how it relates to perception. [ Citation needed ]

Visual illusions

Seckel collects, Researches, and experiments with visual and other types of sensory illusions. Up through 2005, Seckel was affiliated with California Institute of Technology vision scientist Shinsuke Shimojo and computational neuroscientist Christof Koch. [11] [12] [13] Seckel has written a number of books on visual illusions and has bepaald Invited talks at many universities around the world, and at many prestigious conferences, zoals TED and the World Economic Forum , Davos. [14]

His book, Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali & the Artists of Optical Illusion (2004), collects the work of many prominent international visual illusion artists, zoals onder Vodafone Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593), Salvador Dali (1904-1989) , MC Escher (1898-1972), and Rex Whistler (1905-1944). His book The Art of Optical Illusions placed first on the American Library Association’s “Top 10 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers” list for 2001. [15] Some of his other books on optical illusions and perception, welke focus more on the science dat mediates illusions and perception, port leg-used in college courses on visual perception.

In 1994, Seckel designed and put up the first free interactive website on illusions [12] [16] and has developed visual illusion installation for museums around the world. [11] Seckel has ook written a series of optical illusion picture books for children waaronder ambiguous Illusions (2005), Action Optical Illusions (2005) and Stereo Optical Illusions (2006). Seckel wrote a monthly column on illusions for National Geographic Kids magazine.

In 2005, Seckel was one of the judges at the first “Best Visual Illusion of the Year” contest held in A Coruña , Spain at the European Conference on Visual Perception. [17] In 2006 he was listed as one of the contest’s sponsors.

Other activities

During the late 1990s, Seckel and rare-book dealer Jeremy Norman PURCHASED, Collected, and organized the original papers or many of the pioneers in the history of the development of molecular biology, so dat synthesis papers mention anything be preserved together for scholarly use. [18] At the time they ‘ulcers Collected, the papers had no apparent market value and institutions ulcers not interested in keeping the archives hun retired scientists. After the Wellcome Trust PURCHASED the papers or Francis Crick for $ 2.4 million, Norman offered his collection for sale piecemeal through Christie’s . Seckel brought` forth a Lawsuit Against Norman and Christies to keep the collection in one piece. A settlement was reached where Norman through Christies was allowed to sell the collection, ITT entirety to preserve free access to scholars. [19] Former colleagues’ and associates or Watson and Crick Attempted to raise the Asking price of $ 3.2 million as the collection Could be donated to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where Watson and Crick had done hun groundbreaking research, but more recent unsuccessful. The collection was acquired by Eventually molecular biologist J. Craig Venter , who has zegt he will keep the collection at the J. Craig Venter Institute . [20]

Seckel, in turn, has leg Sued by Ensign Consulting, as Documented by Courthouse News Service. . Seckel has ook leg Sued by Vodafone on rare-book investment and sales issues.

  • Seckel was a member of the Edge Foundation , an international think tank. [21]
  • Seckel had leg a member of the American Academy of Achievement . [ Citation needed ]
  • Seckel was one of the organizers and contributors to the Gathering for Martin Gardner conference. [22]
  • He has directed the X Prize Foundation (Ocean) [23] and has served on the Board of the Pete Conrad Foundation.


Seckel had one daughter Elizabeth, born in 1987. His Father is an artist, and his mother ( Ruth Schönthal ) was a classical composer. He was born in New York City, New York, and Grew up in New Rochelle, NY with his two older brothers Ben and Bernard Seckel. Volgens to his personal Web site and the San Gabriel Valley Tribune have mayest near his home in France. The day of death was not listed specifiek. [24] [25] At the date of his death his partner was Isabel Maxwell .

Bibliography (partial)

  • Science and the Paranormal. SCS Publishing (1987)
  • Bertrand Russell on God and Religion. (Seckel, editor), Prometheus Books (1986) ISBN 0-87975-323-4
  • Bertrand Russell on Sex, Marriage, and morals. (Seckel, editor), Prometheus Books (1987) ISBN 0-87975-400-1
  • The Art of Optical Illusions. Carlton Books (2000) ISBN 1-84222-054-3
  • Great Book of Optical Illusions. Firefly Books (2004) ISBN 1-55297-650-5
  • Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali & the Artists of Optical Illusion. Sterling Books (2004) ISBN 1-4027-0577-8
  • Incredible Visual Illusions. (with Rebecca Panayiotou and Tessa Rose, editors), Arcturus Books (2005) ISBN 1-84193-197-7
  • Action Optical Illusions. Sterling Books (2005) ISBN 1-4027-1828-4
  • Impossible Optical Illusions. Sterling Books (2005) ISBN 1-4027-1830-6
  • Stereo Optical Illusions. Sterling Books (2006) ISBN 1-4027-1833-0
  • Optical Illusions: The Science of Visual Perception. Firefly Books (2006) ISBN 1-55407-172-0

Published articles (partial list)

  • “What I Admire About Albert Einstein,” Discover Magazine , December 2004
  • “Rather dan Just Debunking, Encouragement People to Think”, The Skeptical Inquirer , Vol. 13, Spring, 1989
  • “Couch Potato Dog Convinces Hard-Core Skeptics” Skeptical Eye, Los Angeles Times , 1989
  • “Dalmatian’s Counting Goes to the Dogs”, Skeptical Eye, Los Angeles Times , 1989
  • “A New Age of obfuscation and manipulation” in Robert Basil, ed. Not necessarily the New Age: Critical Essays by Carl Sagan, J. Gordon Melton, Martin Gardner , etc., Prometheus Press, 1988.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: No Longer a Burning Issue Santa Monica Times , 1988
  • “Nostradamus: The California Earthquake”, Skeptical Inquirer , Vol. 13, No. 1, 1988
  • “Nancy Reagan’s Astro Logic”, Santa Monica News , July 29, 1988
  • “Quacks: Health criminals”, Santa Monica News , May 20, 1988
  • Mere Puffery: Confessions of a Leading Psychic Santa Monica News , May 6, 1988
  • “Recognizing Destructive and Manipulative Groups”, Santa Monica News , April 22, 1988
  • “Surgery as Magic”, Santa Monica News , February 26, 1988
  • “Remembering Richard Feynman,” Santa Monica News , February 2, 1988
  • “Pinocchio Science: The Truth about Lie Detectors”, Santa Monica News , Jan 17, 1988
  • “Tabloid psychics Failed to Predictable ’87 Would be a Bad Year for Them”, The Skeptical Eye, Los Angeles Times , January 11, 1988
  • The Man Who Could Read Record Grooves The Skeptical Eye, Los Angeles Times , October 19, 1987
  • “Sensing Just How To Help the Police”, The Skeptical Eye, Los Angeles Times, 1987
  • “Keep Creationism out of Public Schools!” Free Thought Today , Vol. 3, no. 8, 1986
  • The Revolt Against the Lightning Rod (co-authored with John Edwards), Free Inquiry , Winter 1986
  • Robert Ingersoll’s Views on Religion (co-authored with Gordon Stein), Atheists United, Free Thought Leaflet, 1985
  • “Russell and the Cuban Missile Crisis”, Journal of the Bertrand Russell Studies , Vol. 4, no. 2, Winter 1984
  • The Shroud of Turin (co-authored with John Edwards), Atheists United, Free Thought Leaflet, 1984
  • History’s Judgment on Religion Atheists United, Free Thought Leaflet, 1984
  • Christianity Versus Women (co-authored with Julia Hernandez), Atheists United, Free Thought Leaflet, 1984
  • Equal Time for Creationism? (co-authored with John Edwards), Atheists United, Free Thought Leaflet, 1983
  • Thomas Paines Age of Reason Atheists United, Free Thought Leaflet, 1982
  • Albert Einstein’s Views on Religion Atheists United, Free Thought Leaflet, 1982
  • Charles Darwin’s Views on Religion (co-authored with John Edwards), Atheists United, Free Thought Leaflet, 1982
  • “Scientists Crucified: Hypatia” The Humanist , May 1981


  • An uitgebreide profile or Seckel was published in Tablet magazine in July 2015


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Sarah Lubman (January 26, 1995). “Fish fight looms over bumper ornament”. Albany, NY Times Union (via Knight-Ridder News Service).
  2. Jump up^ Berta Delgado (March 15, 1998). “Filleting hun foes through a fish.” The Record (Bergen County, NJ). p. L05. (oorspronkelijk published in the Dallas Morning News)
  3. Jump up^ Robert Rheinhold (April 8, 1988). “Winning the West from Nostradamus”. The New York Times. p. A14.
  4. Jump up^ The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 12 no. 4, Summer, 1988; p. 346.
  5. Jump up^ Bob Baker (April 21, 1985). “A skeptical view”. Los Angeles Times. p. A3.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b Edmund Newton (January 4, 1987). “No doubt about it-the skeptics put on a good show.” Los Angeles Times. p. 1.
  7. Jump up^ Seckel, Al. God’s frequency is 39.17 MHz: The Investigation of Peter Popoff. InScience and the Paranormal. Pasadena, CA: Southern California Skeptics, 1987. Availableonline.
  8. Jump up^ Many columns ulcers written, zoals, for example, “Dalmatian’s counting goes to the dogs” (January 21, 1987), debunking a dog Whose owner claimed it Could perform simple arithmetic, and “Tabloid psychics failed to predictors ’87 mention anything be a bath year for them. ” (January 11, 1988).
  9. Jump up^ Seckel, Al. Science, Creationism, and the US Supreme Court. The Skeptical Inquirer. Vol. 11, no. 2. Winter 1986-1987. pp. 147-158.
  10. Jump up^ EDWARDS, GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA, ET AL. v. AGUILLARD ET AL. No. 85-1513. Supreme Court OF THE UNITED STATES. 482 US 578; 107 S. Ct. 2573; 1987 US LEXIS 2729; 96 L. Ed. 2d 510; 55 USLW 4860.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b “Netwatch.” Science. (2001) Vol. 291, p. 1453.
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b Voss, David. “Seeing is believing.” Science. (1997) Vol. 275, p. 792.
  13. Jump up^ Additional confirmation or Seckel’s Caltech affiliation kan be foundhereandhere
  14. Jump up^ ExampleGoogle search.
  15. Jump up^ American Library AssociationPress Release.
  16. Jump up^ Pamela O’Connell (April 16, 1998). “Screen Grab: See the Spiral Spin, See Your Skin Crawl”. New York Times. p. G10.
  17. Jump up^ “Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest (2005)” . Neural Correlate Society . Retrieved 2006-06-05 .
  18. Jump up^ Rex Dalton (June 14, 2001). “The History Man”. Nature.
  19. Jump up^ “News in letter.” Nature. Vol. 422, p. 102 (13 March 2003) and Vol. 432, p. 578 (5 June 2003).
  20. Jump up^ Nicholas Wade (August 10, 2005). “Picassos? Warhols? No. This multimillion-dollar Collection Rate the Science of DNA” . The New York Times. p. A1. (subscription required)
  21. Jump up^ “Al Seckel” . Edge: The Third Culture.
  22. Jump up^ “G4G9” . Gathering 4 Gardner.
  23. Jump up^ “Advisors” . EX PRIZE Foundation. Archived from the original on 2010-11-09.
  24. Jump up^ “Al P. Seckel” . Obituaries . San Gabriel Valley Tribune . Retrieved September 22, 2015 .
  25. Jump up^ “Al Seckel 1958 – 2015” . Al Seckel Website . Retrieved September 22, 2015 .