The world appears to be a colourful place, but what are colours? What properties of light determine what colour we see?
- Colour is how our brains perceive different wavelengths of light.
- Newton discovered that white light splits into many different wavelengths.
- Light travels in waves and can be reflected, refracted or absorbed.
- What we see are the wavelengths of light being reflected.
Throughout history, the conundrum of colour has exercised some very bright minds.
Isaac Newton, 1666
In 1666, Isaac Newton experimented with a beam of light and a transparent, triangular prism.
He observed that when light passed through this, it split – or dispersed – into different coloured rays.
Newton had discovered that white light ...
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