After 4 months of intense preparations, the opening of the exhibition entitled "LIGHT MYSTERIES: Holograms, 3D and Optical Illusions” took place on December 2 in the halls of the Natural History Museum of the University of Crete. The inauguration of the exhibition, which is organized by the Hellenic Institute of Holography (HiH), was done by the Governor of the Region of Crete Mr. Stavros Arnaoutakis in the presence of representatives of local administrative and academic communities.

Such an exhibition takes place for the first time in Greece -if not internationally- since its content extends further than strictly holography by combining 3D stereoscopic imaging with education in basic optical principles through optical paradoxes.

The Museum of Optics (Optimus) of the renowned (IFMO) University of St. Petersburg, Russia as well as the Institute of electronic Structure and Lasers of the Foundation for Research and Technology of Crete (IESL-FORTH) have largely contributed in the its organization. The aim of this show is to familiarize visitors with the basic principles of Optics through simple hands-on experimental setups, the strange travel of Light in Nature through the explanation of various natural phenomena, and the latest developments in the field of stereoscopic 3D-imaging and applications.

Naturally, the magnificent World of Holography remains the main core of the exhibition, which expands in two floors and a total area of approx. 500 sq.m.

At the ground level, 130 impressive display holograms from HiH collections originating from more than 15 countries are demonstrated in a historic review from 1985 to present: unique monochromatic holograms of original art pieces from the USSR, pseudocolour artistic holograms, full-colour large-format holographic prints, impressive white-light transmission integral rainbow holograms, pulse portraits of humans and animals, latest technology true-colour ultra-realistic holograms of objects and Optical Clones (OptoClones) of works of art.

On the 1st floor, various Optical Paradoxes and Illusions are demonstrated in an amusing and interactive way, introducing visitors to the basic concepts of geometrical Optics, which are further explained with a series of simplified lab setups. Visitors can be entertained in the dark-room with laser musical instruments and light wall-graffiti whilst understanding natural phenomena involving UV-radiation. On the same floor, printed and digital 3D anaglyphs as well as the awarded large-format lenticular prints Lenstar introduce them to glasses-free auto-stereoscopic monitors with computer-generated and 'live' footage 3D content.

The exhibition is further enriched with samples of documented extra-terrestrial meteorites, original mineral pigments used in ancient Greek paintings and fluorescent minerals (from the private collections of Mr. Thomas Katsaros) as well as original impressive photographs of Aurora Borealis, captured by world-famous Russian scientists researching this phenomenon.

At the entrance of the Museum, the robotic geisha with its holographic head portraits welcomes visitors under the simulation of sky lighting (with the use of proprietary LED setup designed by Yiannis Georgaras) before inviting her young friends to custom-made kinetic interactive games in the 3D projection cube.