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Color for Science, Art and Technology by Kurt Nassau

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Chapter 4

The Fifteen Causes of Color

Kurt Nassau    Lebanon, NJ, USA (AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories Murray Hill, NJ, USA, retired)

4.1 Introduction

In Chapter 1 were covered the basics of color, including Newton’s discovery of the spectrum. Based on this, and on the color perception concepts covered in Chapter 3, we can deduce that we perceive color when some of the wavelengths emitted by a source of white light are selectively absorbed, reflected, refracted, scattered, or diffracted by matter on their way to our eyes; alternatively, a non-white distribution of light may have been emitted in some way.

Fifteen specific color-producing mechanisms can then be distinguished, originating in a variety of physical and chemical mechanisms, collected into ...

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