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Origin of Color
What is the origin of the color? What
is the physiology of human vision? When we see something, what exactly
it means? We need to go to some scientific experiments to find out
the answers of these questions.
It was Sir Isaac Newton who experimented with the colors and the
origin of the colors in 1666.
He concentrated on the nature of spectrum we find
in the rainbow for his experiment. He achieved the same spectrum
when he passed a beam of sunlight through a glass prism. Newton
named these colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and
violet. Another experiment was carried out by passing a spectrum
through glass prism. The output came in the form of white light.
The experiments were going on and the third was about the complementary
colors. With the help of two prisms he produced different colors
on the same spot having white background. The combinations of these
colors were producing the color, which lies between two source colors
in the spectrum. Isaac Newton came to some amazing conclusions after
1. Color is not in the glass it is in the light
2. White light is a mixture of all the colors of the
Then comes the property of illusion. It is called
metamerism. Newton described this property where two colors look
identical when viewed under certain light source but it looks different
under different source of light.
In 19th century, Physicist James Clerk Maxwell discovered
the fact that mixing just three light sources - red, green and blue,
can produce wide range of colors. Computer monitors runs on the
same principle of producing color from these three light primaries.
You are seeing mango. How your eyes see it? What is
the functioning behind it? Color is in light. If we check out sunlight,
it is colorless, but as we have seen, when passed through prism
gives spectrum. So let us take the example of mango. The functioning
of vision takes place as follows.
Light falls from the source (the sun) on the object
(the mango) and then it goes to the human eye.
The sunlight shines the mango.
All the colors in the sunlight are absorbed by the
yellow surface of the mango except those related with yellow, and
reflected to human eye.
The eye receives the reflected yellow light from the object (the
mango) and sends message to the brain.