How does light present as color?

Written by: Saaj Chattopadhyay

Edited by: Christina Del Greco, Will Dana, Kane York, and Madeline Barron

Illustrated by: Jacquelyn Roberts


Roses are red, violets are blue

Are they really? We might see different hues! 


Recently, I was careless enough to think I lost my credit card while traveling so I ordered a new one. The customer service representative asked if I wanted an image on the card and pointed me to the large library of options. My eyes skimmed the web page and settled on the image of Claude Monet’s beautiful impressionist painting “The Artist’s Garden at Giverny,” and sure enough, two weeks later, I had a gorgeous new credit card. What caught my eye in the painting was the brilliant use of purple, one of my favorite colors, to depict the irises that covered his garden. His blending of paints ensures that the longer you stare at the painting, the more colors you see. It made me appreciate how our eyes and brain work together to project such a vibrant reality.

“The Artist’s Garden at Giverny” by Claude Monet (Source)

Color is the result of how our brains process light entering our eyes. There are two sides of the story: what type of light is entering our eye, and how our eyes perceive the collected light. Thus, to understand color, we first have to understand light. 

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