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Does Color Exist Without Light

 
 
SCoates
 
Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 06:54 pm
I'm sure I'll get a lot of people who say "no!" But I want to see if anyone thinks there would be.

Everyone please list your reasons, and the utility of your conclusion.

I'm running a little test, so please be thurough, and as objective as possible.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 13,740 • Replies: 149
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bigdice67
 
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Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 06:59 pm
BM!
I gotta go to bed!
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gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 07:03 pm
you're not going to sleep very well, bigdice. The nicotine withdrawals are going to have you tossing and turning like a madmad. Better have your wife strap you to the bed.

It ain't gonna be pretty. But I'm here for you, brother -- been down that road and have fought those demons.
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gustavratzenhofer
 
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Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 07:03 pm
Did scoates say something?
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bigdice67
 
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Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 07:08 pm
No, he didn't!

BTW, I just thought about how nice it is, not being addicted to cigaaAARRRETTESSSSSSS
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bigdice67
 
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Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 07:09 pm
Damn, that cat tasted good!
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watchmakers guidedog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 07:23 pm
Does colour exist without light? Tricky question. For those who don't know colour is caused by light interacting with the molecules of an object. The length of the molecules is like an antenna, sensitive to different frequencies of radiation. So white light hits an object and if it soaks up all the blue out of the light then you'll see a red object when it bounces back and hits your eye.

Without light those antenna are still there and they're still tuned, so the potential for colour exists. But in reality the only thing that really has colour is light, so without light...
gustavratzenhofer
 
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Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 07:28 pm
bigdice wrote:
Damn, that cat tasted good!


funny stuff
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 07:30 pm
Let me go ahead and explain my position. I believe it is most accurate to say that it does. Because it has the potential to reflect light, regardless of whether or not it is currently doing so. I believe that potential is of more use to us. Color is used to define matter (among other things), and the type of matter is what is important. Is that object red? It is made up of matter which reflects red light, therefor yes.

Otherwise we are only defining it in terms of our perception, which I think usually serves no purpose.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 07:54 pm
Perception has nothin' to do with it; its physics.

Color per se is a wavelength function of the visible portion of the electromagnetic subset of the energy spectrum. "White Light" contains a broad range of wavelengths, which by their nature and the nature of the material on which they impinge have varying transmissive, refractive, reflective, and absorptive properties. For example, the wavelength of blue light is around 500 nanometers, or 5 x 10-to-the-minus-7th meters. Whether it is transmitted or reflected, if its wavelength is around 500nm, its blue.

What is true of optics is equally true of audio; A above middle C is 440 Hz, regardless whether it is rendered as a pure note by the stroke of a piano key or is among a chaotic assemblage of audio frequencies resultin' from the fall of a tree in an uninhabited forrest. If energy is of a given frequency, it is the color, or sound of that frequency, regardless the presence or perspective of observers. Doppler shift - the velocity relationship between observer and observed can give the appearance of alterin' frequency relative to the observer, but is itself an artifact independent of and unrelated to the frequency of the observed energy.

Fyziks is Phun.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 09:12 pm
D'ya mean, without the presence of light at a given moment, or without the existence of light (if one could imagine such a universe)? If the former, the answer is obvious, as dys has explained; if the latter, the question is moot at best and silly at worst...

Course, the assignation of color is far less objective than the recording of wavelength/frequency.
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timberlandko
 
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Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 09:18 pm
Well, given the absence of light, yeah, the question is meanin'less, since color is a function of light. However, in the universe we experience, there is light - electromagnetic energy at appropriate frequency. Now, the energy level of that radiation may be below our limit of observation, but it is there.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 09:20 pm
dys=timber now. i'll have to go let the cowboy know...
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kuvasz
 
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Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 10:29 pm
color, defined as quantized wave lengths is meaningless. an observer is necessary for color to exist since it is physiological in nature.

object, lumination, observer. all essential for color.

i don't play a color scientist on tv, i am one.
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 10:36 pm
Perception has everything to do with it. Most people define color as the way they see it (the experience vs the exact calculated phenomenon). In that sense, of course the experience "blue" is not present without light. The absorption and reflection is not present without light either, but the matter still contains the necessary components.

Of course it comes down to semantics. The reason I brought the subject up is because I was actually offended by a professor at my college. I said that without light matter still has the tendencies to reflect certain types of light, and that I felt it was most accurate to label color as a primary characteristic in that sense. Semantics entirely, of course. But his response was to make fun of me the rest of the class, roll his eyes after any input I gave, and constantly check to see if I was "still with the rest of us."

What bothered me was that I completely understood his point, I just chose to define my terms differently, and he acted like I was an idiot. And I didn't throw out any ignorant, unthought comments; I worded everything so that by my terms I was correct. After the class I even apologized to him, saying that I had not intended to cause a disruption, but that I thought it was simply more useful to define color as a property of matter (unless your medium is light, as in television). And he insulted me again.

Sorry to ramble on. His attitude just really offended me.

Patio, the question was of the temporary absence of light.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2005 10:43 pm
Color of the light is vital, as well, naturally. Black light illustrates this point most obviously, but if you look at the "color" of a thing under fluorescent lights (which produce only a few distinct wavelengths that mix to something that we perceive as roughly "white" light) and then take it outside and look at it under the yellow-heavy "white" light of the sun, and the thing might look very different.



I mean, if we're really going to get into color...
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Apr, 2005 12:36 am
The "experience" of color admittedly is somethin' apart from the properties of electromagnetic radiation - and far more difficult to quantify.

I'll grant an observer is necessary if color is to be "experienced", but the observer's presence has nothin' whatsoever to do with the physics of color. A wavelength of 500 nanometers is a wavelength of 500 nanometers whether or not someone is there to experience it as "blue".

I gotta take a small exception to one of your points, too, SCoates; color is purely a property of light. Matter exhibits color only thru and due to the manner in which matter reflects, refracts, absorbs, and/or transmits light. Usin' an example from patiodog, color temperature - the distribution of frequencies present in the light source - will have significant impact on the nature of the color "experience".
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Apr, 2005 02:47 am
I understand all of that. I am using a different definition of color, other than the specific concept which we all agree is only a property of light. I am referring to a different concept which I am saying should be (and I believe already is) a separate, valid definition of color.

(It's late at night and I can't sleep, so forgive me if I ramble.)

It is definitely a relevant concept. the type of matter is an invariable factor in determining the type of light we see when we look at that object.

I am saying that the properties of matter which regulate the experience of color exist whether or not light is present. And I see no more proper way of labelling those features than the "color" of the object. Otherwise the meaning/concept is lost.

In nearly every instance when someone says "that car is green," they are trying to describe the matter, not the light that is reflected from the matter. That is the most common utility of the word "color" and I think a separate definition should be reserved for it.

That said, yours is a valid (and scientifically important) viewpoint, timber. I think the only reason I care so much is that I'm still angry at my professor.

Forgive me if I seem foolishly unyielding--it's more from stubbornness than ignorance.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Apr, 2005 05:19 am
Don't lemme getchya down none, SCoates - I have a way of takin' the romance right outta roses.

And on the upside, here, youve learned a valuable lesson; the achievement of academic degrees, honors, and positions has nothin' to do with intellectual achievement.
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Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Apr, 2005 06:21 am
I know this problem under a different guise... : If a tree fell down in the woods.... You all know it.

Perception lies at the foundation of every piece of knowledge we have.

The thing with color, as has been said already, is that it is not an attribute of the object you see it on, but rather an attribute of light. When you see red it is because the surface you are looking at absorbes every frequency except the one your mind knows as red. So you can say that a red ball is in reality every other color than red. Red is the only color it doesn't have. It is the color it rejects.


I feel the urge to include a piece of a post on another thread: ".. it is light reaching the eye, this thing we call sight, and though it feels as if the eye endarts it is in reality exactly oposite..."
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