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Simply colorful

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 04:41 AM    Views : 256by:Aristotle P. Carandang, LPT, MPS, PhD

I could not imagine life that is devoid of colors. What would this world be if it were just black and white?

Fortunately, colors surround us and give us the kind of life we deserve. Others may only be green, some may turn yellow because of what others have, while others believe in red as an ideology but I will always be brown because I am a Filipino. More importantly, don't be blue when you cannot have what you want. And remember, even after a storm there is always a silver lining.

Colors may not fully define us but they can help bring the best in us so we can aspire to get the gold.

In my most recent editorial "Vibrant science" for the first quarter issue of the S&T Post (http://www.science.ph/stiipub.php), I mentioned a little history. Let me share some parts.

"Records from various sources tell us that the great Greek philosopher Aristotle developed the first known theory of color. He believed that it was sent by God through celestial rays of light and suggested that all colors came from white and black that represented lightness and darkness, respectively. He then related them to the four elements water, air, earth, and fire. This theory was widely held for over 2,000 years until Sir Isaac Newton's theory emerged.

It was in the 1660s when Newton started experimenting with sunlight and prisms. He showed that the clear white light was actually composed of seven visible colors by scientifically establishing the visible color spectrum. His work led to breakthroughs in optics, physics, etc. This brought about "Opticks", his great work on light and prism. He gave us the name ROY G BIV which stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet that make up the visible color spectrum the colors of the rainbow.

However, the famous Johan Wolfgang von Goethe challenged Newton's views on color. He once said that colors were light's suffering and joy. He argued that color was not simply a scientific measurement but a subjective experience perceived differently by each viewer. He made the first systematic study on the physiological effects of color. Information from the Smithsonian Library said that Goethe's views were widely adopted by artists, and through he is best known for his poetry and prose, he considered Theory of Colors his most important work. This rare book subsequently became the foundation for modern color printing. Then came Jacob Christoph Le Blon who was the first to outline a three-color printing method using primary colors (red, yellow, blue) to create secondary colors (green, purple, orange). He made an important distinction between material colors as used by painters and colored light which was the focus of Newton's color theory."

What fascinates me most is how we manage to associate colors in the things we do. Yes, even the science community has designated specific meanings to certain colors that can best represent something.

This does not leave out the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). In fact, its logo is a juxtaposition of four circles creating a flower-like image that seem to create an illusion of movement; and there appear three distinct colors: black is for the unknown, white for truth and enlightenment, and blue for progress.

We can see color-coded rainfall advisories from DOST-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration to engage the public and make them safe. Makes sense, right?  Also, a colorful scientific engagement is currently being done by the DOST-Philippine Textile Research Institute on natural dyes and tropical fabrics. New sources of dyes have been found from endemic plant species. Great news, indeed!!

What about the colorful mouth-watering foods? Of course, there are acceptable levels of food colorants developed not just for our taste buds but also for the eyes. And if you want to understand your dreams that sometimes appear in full color, you might as well see an expert. Indeed, it's going to be a totally different discussion. 

Finally, I can say that there might not be a single soul that would disagree if I would say that color is what fills our life.

S & T Trivia

" Dr. Baldomero Olivera, a UP Summa cum Laude graduate, discovered conotoxins, a bunch of biomolecules in Philippine marine snails now used in international neuroscience research. A seacone known scientifically as Conus lapulapu was named after Lapulapu, the Philippine hero who killed Ferdinand Magellan in war. "

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