Quick Questions cracks the code of color vision, color blindness, and even newly discovered sort of technicolor vision!
Those colors are created by chemicals. Now, the reasons why some chemicals have certain colors are complicated…too complicated for a Tumblr ask, but the important thing to realize here is that sunlight is POWERFUL STUFF. It carries tons of energy in the form of radiation. Some of that is in the visible spectrum, which is what we see as colors, but there’s also lots of radiation outside of that spectrum. Infra-red and UV being the biggest non-visible components of sunlight. Ultra-violet light in particular contains LOTS of energy.
All of that energy get transferred into whatever chemical is making the color which, eventually, causes that chemical to break down into component parts that are not colorful. It’s called “photodegeneration.”
The tiny, rock-hard fruits of Pollia condensata, a wild plant that grows in the forests of Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania and other African countries, can’t be eaten raw, cooked or turned into a beverage. In Western Uganda and elsewhere, though, the plant’s small metallic fruits have long been used for decorative purposes because of an unusual property: They stay a vibrant blue color for years or even decades after they’ve been picked. A specimen at the Kew Botanical Gardens in London that was gathered in Ghana in 1974 still retains its iridescent hue.
Intrigued, a team of researchers from Kew, the University of Cambridge and the Smithsonian Natural History Museum decided to look into how this plant produces such dazzling and persistent color. When they attempted to extract a pigment to study, though, they were surprised to discover the fruit had none. - Continue reading at Smithsonian.com.
Ed note: How creative minds are turning to nature for fresh design solutions.