About the Colour Zone

Red, green, and blue light mixing to make white light, as well as yellow, magenta, and cyan. | Image: Wikimedia

Red, green, and blue light mixing to make white light, as well as yellow, magenta, and cyan. | Image: Wikimedia

White light is made up of all the colours of the rainbow. When light hits an object, a green balloon for example, all the colours are absorbed except for — in the case of the balloon — green. The green light hits our eyes, and we see the balloon as green.

Different compounds, chemicals, and materials absorb and reflect light in different ways. Analytical chemists can learn a lot about a material or compound from the colour it appears. This knowledge can also be used to make pigments and dyes of any colour imaginable by combining the compounds which make a certain colour; cyanide for example, was often used in blues, arsenic in greens.

The scientists in this zone are chemists who use colour in their research. There is one who makes colourful inks that can conduct electricity, one who tested athletes urine samples during the Olympics and one who looks for pollution in our environment. There is a scientist who tests your drinking water to make sure it’s safe and another who is using gold atoms to make parts of cells turn really bright colours.

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