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Balls rolling uphill (or so it would appear) win Best Illusion of the Year honors
To construct the deceptive contraption he would enter in an international illusion contest, Kokichi Sugihara contravened a deeply held intuition: gravity works. Sugihara, a mathematical engineer at Meiji University in Japan, built a set of four ramps, arranged in a cross, on which wooden balls appear to roll uphill, as if pulled by a magnet toward the center.
A panel of judges whittled the submissions, all of which had to be new or at least unpublished before 2009, to 10 finalists; attendees of the contest gala then voted to determine the best illusions of that group. Rounding out the top three were entries by vision scientist Bart Anderson of the University of Sydney and physiologist Jan Kremlacek of Charles University in Prague.