Physics of Color Vision and Color Blindness Essay example

Physics of Color Vision and Color Blindness Essay example

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What is Color?

To understand what color is, we first need to understand what light is. Light, as perceived by humans, is simply electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths between roughly 380 nm and 740 nm. Wavelengths below 380 nm and above 740 nm cannot be seem by the human eye. Electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength just below 380 nm is known as ultraviolet radiation. Electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength just above 740 nm is known as infrared radiation. The sun, black lights and fluorescent lamps are all sources of ultraviolet light. Heat is a source of infrared radiation, which is how thermal vision works.

Electromagnetic radiation between the wavelengths of 380 nm and 740 nm constitute light and the human color-vision spectrum. There is evidence that other animals, namely insects and birds, have a color-vision spectrum that extends further into the ultraviolet range. Evolutionary factors greatly influence the development of color vision in different animals and species.

Although the human color-vision spectrum is continuous, it can be broken down into discrete ranges of colors which are then labeled with specific names.

Surfaces gain the appearance of color based on their reflection and absorption of different wavelengths of light. A surface that reflects all wavelengths of light appears to be white. Conversely, a surface that absorbs all wavelengths of light appears to be black (and also heats up as a consequence of absorbing this electromagnetic radiation). If a surface does not reflect all wavelengths of light equally, it will appear as a color in the human color-vision spectrum.

Color Vision

Color vision is a highly-debated gray area that lies somewhere between physics and psychology. As we h...


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... apart. Be afraid to drive near me because I'm a bad driver.

I didn't feel so smart in kindergarten.

Between the color flash-card tests and the green suns I was apparently drawing with my crayons, kindergarten was not exactly the high-point of my life.

Thank goodness for those little brown spots on bananas!

They say that bananas go from being green to yellow when they ripen. To me, they go from being yellow to yellow, so I only trust the spots. Bananas rule!

That one game of soccer...

When I was a kid, I played in this one game of soccer where my team had green jerseys and the opponents had yellow jerseys. Somewhere in the middle of this game, the sun started shining in such a way that I could not tell the jerseys apart anymore. This was the worst game of soccer I've played in my life. I quit soccer and took up bowling. I showed them.

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