Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No colour in the dark

Do objects still have their colour in pitch blackness? It's a question I've been debating with my five-year-old daughter for the past month. Obviously, she thinks her dad's an idiot, and that of course objects still have their colour in the dark. But actually they don't. This is a concept most adults find difficult to believe, let alone five-year-olds (though I was hoping my daughter would be more receptive to the notion).

Objects – whether it's a red tomato, a purple flower or a green bowl – need light to have colour. Colour is perceived by the human eye only when white light is shone upon an object's surface. The red tomato is reflecting red light and absorbing all other colours. Even though an object will still have the property of their particular colour, in pitch darkness there is no light to reflect it so no colour.

This notion has nothing to do with Schrödinger's quantum physics theory about the cat in the box with poison being both dead and alive at the same time… especially if said cat is black. Or the metaphysical tree falling in a forest philosophical riddle… unless there's a black cat stuck up said falling tree.


A Colour Expert said...

There is still colour in the dark, you just can't see it! Enough of this nonsense!

Barnaby said...

You need to go back to colour school.