The Gentleman Thief



  • Wednesday, September 24 | 7:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Offering Format: Public Event, Lecture
  • Recommended for grades 10 – 12 and adults
  • Cahners Theater
  • Admission: $25 (includes post-program reception); buy tickets
  • Associated Persons

    With Apollo Robbins, theatrical pickpocket and master of misdirection; John D. E. Gabrieli, PhD, Grover Hermann Professor in health sciences and technology; professor of brain and cognitive sciences; director, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT


Hailed as the greatest pickpocket in the world, Apollo Robbins is a sleight-of-hand artist, deception specialist, and "artful manipulator of awareness" (Forbes). He tells his "target" that he is about to steal from them, and does so right in front of their eyes. During an encounter with Jimmy Carter's Secret Service detail in 2001, Robbins emptied the agents' pockets of just about everything but their guns: their watches, rings, badges, a copy of Carter's itinerary, and the keys to the Carter motorcade!

Robbins’s skill with proximity manipulation, diversion techniques, and attention control has garnered interest from neuroscientists, psychiatrists, even the Department of Defense. Dare to join Robbins during this Reno Family Foundation Symposium for an interactive evening and a fascinating conversation with MIT neuroscientist John Gabrieli about human nature and how our brains work.

Reception to follow with hors d'oeuvres, cash bar, and more visual fun by magician Wally Napier and members of the MIT student chapter of the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE).

Tickets on sale beginning Thursday, August 28 (Tuesday, August 26 for Museum members).

Funding for this program provided by the Reno Family Foundation Fund.

Photo © Douglas Sonders Photography

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