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What is color? - Colm Kelleher


40,106 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

Have you ever wondered what color is? In this first installment of a series on light, Colm Kelleher describes the physics behind colors-- why the colors we see are related to the period of motion and the frequency of waves.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

The science of color is a fascinating study. This essay will explore the physics of colored light and colored pigments, and the color physiology of the human eye.
The solar spectrum peaks in the green part of the spectrum, right? Wrong! It only peaks in the green when plotted in wavelength units. It peaks in the near infrared when plotted in frequency units.
Here's an article from the archives of the Harvard Gazette: Researchers now able to stop, restart light, by William J. Cromie
The visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to (i.e. can be detected by) the human eye. Electromagnetic radiation in this range of wavelengths is called visible light or, simply, light.
A Google image search for prism (a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces) shows how light is refracted.
Colors are of philosophical interest for a number of reasons. One of the most important reasons is that color raises serious metaphysical issues, concerning the nature both of physical reality and of the mind. Among these issues are questions concerning whether color is part of a mind-independent reality and what account we can give of experiences of color. These issues have been, and continue to be, inextricably linked with important epistemological and semantic issues.

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Meet The Creators

  • Director Alex Rupert, Bernard Tan
  • Educator Colm Kelleher
  • Narrator Colm Kelleher

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