Thursday, July 17, 2008

Your Kindergarten Teacher Lied

Yep, that’s right. Back in the day when you did your finger paintings of blue ducks your teacher told you that you could create ANY color just by using the 3 primary colors and guess what? She lied. You can only create the illusion of the colors as this callous text book puts it: “Our nervous system attempts to interpret that (relative intensities of three bands of colors) very limited data to provide our perception of color. This mechanism which we chauvinistically call primary colors is often inaccurate! But it allows for inexpensive color printing and video presentations using as few as three inks or phosphors.” Oh, it gets better. You may have also been told the primary colors are Red, Yellow, & Blue like below:

And you would be correct if you were living in the 1600s when Isacc Newton came up with it. But no, the dude who invented calculus was wrong. The primary colors are Red, Green and Blue. Remember “RGB”?

But the site goes even further to say really you aren’t making colors nor are they even real. They are simply your limited interpretation of them. I’ve yet to find a website that explains the relationship between photons and objects and the resulting wavelength which we interpret as color.
Why bring up all this? Because what may be a beautiful shade of green in my wife’s eye may be a vomit green in mine and science has got my side. And it’s way past my bed time.

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