Comparing Yellows

by ryan

It’s the start of a school year which means that we have new explainers, new school groups and new Paul D! Well, actually its the same Paul D., but we get to learn new science facts and experience new exhibits.

Today Paul talked about this exhibit called ‘Comparing Yellows’. It doesn’t come across so well in the photo, but the basic idea is that the center dot is a light emitting diode showing ‘pure yellow light’, while the outside ring has a gradient of ‘green and red light’. The crazy thing that Paul told us was that the colors of light is something entirely created by human perception. Each person has a slightly different combination of ‘cones’ in the color receiving cells in the retina. Most people in our group saw the center dot as the same as the dot at 1 or 2 o’clock but Katie and Chris perceived the middle dot as similar to the greenish dot at 7 o’clock. That’s because they have forms of color blindness which occurs in 1/10th of men and 1/100th of women.

This helped us realize that each visitor to the ExplOratorium may experience the exhibit in an entirely different way. There is no ‘right or wrong’ way to interact with an exhibit, and that’s what makes this place excellently cool.