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Isaac Newton the creator of color theory

Isaac Newton the creator of color theory

Yellow, blue, red… Stunning plumage. Isaac Newton the creator of color theory

Isaac Newton the creator of color theory
Generally, Color is fundamental to many forms of art. And the white light contains the full spectrum of colors. Meanwhile, humans perceive colors from the light reflected off objects. A red object, for example, looks red because it reflects the red part of the spectrum. However, it would be a different color under a different light. Besides, Light can be split up into a spectrum by sending it through a prism. This was the doscovery by English physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton, considered to be the creator of color theory.
Originally, in 1672, Newton named only five primary colors: red, yellow, green, blue and violet. Later he included orange and indigo, giving seven colors by analogy to the number of notes in a musical scale. Noteworthy, our modern understanding of light and color origins in Isaac Newton’s theory.

Isaac Newton the creator of color theory

Isaac Newton – creator of color theory

In 1704, Newton published his theoretical study of color, Opticks, which immediately raised a storm of controversy because it contradicted the centuries-old Aristotelian linear conception of color. Even a full century later, writer and scientist Johann Goethe scathingly wrote about Newton’s work, “Go ahead, split the light! You try to separate, as you often have, that which is one and remains one in spite of you.” Newton’s theory prevailed, however, and even Goethe eventually came around, more or less, to agreement. Newton believed that there was a correspondence between sounds and colors. Perhaps because of this mind-set, he decided that he saw seven colors in the rainbow— note that there are two blues, indigo and blue. In this way, he aligned his diagram with the seven tones of the musical octave. Scientists continue to study this music/color analogy today.

Color wheel. The arrangement of colors around the color circle is often considered to be in correspondence with the wavelengths of light, as opposed to hues, in accord with the original color circle of Isaac Newton. Modern color circles include the purples, however, between red and violet. Color scientists and psychologists often use the additive primaries, red, green and blue; and often refer to their arrangement around a circle as a color circle as opposed to a color wheel.

Then, in the late 1600s, Sir Isaac Newton used a glass prism to divide white rays of sunlight into the fanned colored wavelengths, which he named the spectrum, derived from a Latin word meaning apparition. Newton assigned names to the radiant colors: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. He diagrammed the seven spectral hues into a closed ring that followed the ordering of the colors as they appeared in the spectrum and in the rainbow, thus creating the first color wheel. Newton placed white at the center of the circle to symbolize the synthesis of all hues into white light. Black was not part of Newton’s ring.

Isaac Newton the creator of color theory

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