Magenta is a Color

Posted on February 18, 2009  Comments (3)

Electromagnetic spectrum chartElectromagnetic spectrum chart from the Wikimedia Commons

Yes, Virgina, there is a magenta by Chris Foresman

There is a nasty rumor making its way around the interconnected series of tubes we call the Internet.

As visible light enters the eye and strikes the cone cells, the cells send electrical signals along the optic nerve to the brain. This is how our body “senses” light. Our brain interprets those three separate sensations to produce the perception that we call “color.”

The truth is, no color actually exists outside of our brain’s perception of it. Everything we call a color—and there are a lot more than what comes in your box of Crayolas—only exists in our heads. We define color in terms of how our brains process the stimuli produced by a mix of wavelengths in the range of 400–700nm hitting specialized cells in our eyes—”one, or any mixture, of the constituents into which light can be separated in a spectrum or rainbow,” says the OED. Elliot’s article might be better titled, “Magenta is not a single wavelength of electromagnetic radiation in the ‘visible’ spectrum, but our brain perceives it anyway.”

This is a great article that uses science to explain interesting details about our brains and how we perceive the external world.

Related: How Our Brain Resolves Sightmore posts using science to explain the worldScience Explains: Flame ColorElectromagnetic SpectrumIllusions, Optical and Other

3 Responses to “Magenta is a Color”

  1. alyssa
    March 2nd, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

    As an artist-on a lot of different mediums. I have found this post to be very interesting. I have heard this before,but I really like that the chart was included. Sometimes it easier to “see” when things are visable!

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Albert Einstein, Marylin Monroe Hybrid Image
    September 13th, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

    […] and Other – How Our Brain Resolves Sight – Seeing Patterns Where None Exists – Magenta is a Color – posts on scientific explanations of what we experience – Computational Visual […]

  3. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » How a Differential Gear Works
    September 15th, 2010 @ 7:08 am

    […] – A Journey Into the Human Eye – Science Explained: What The Heck is a Virus? – Magenta is a Color by curiouscat   Tags: Engineering, Students Comments (3)   Permalink to: How a […]

Leave a Reply