Our World of Light and Color

  • Thomas D. RossingEmail author
  • Christopher J. Chiaverina


Throughout history, the knowledge and culture of each civilization have been expressed through its science, its literature, and its arts. To fully appreciate the beauty of our natural world, we should appreciate and understand both the scientific and the artistic interpretations.


Glossary of Terms


Sensation of overall light intensity, ranging from dark, through dim, to bright.


The material in leaves that strongly reflects green light.


Color name (e.g., red, yellow, green) that distinguishes one color from another.


Chemical process by which plants produce sugar from water and carbon dioxide by using sunlight.


Display of colors due to refraction in raindrops or other droplets of water.


Selective scattering of light by small particles; it makes the sky appear blue and the setting sun red.


Purity of a color (similar to “chroma” or “color intensity”) .


Distance between two successive wave crests or troughs.

Further Reading

  1. Eckstut, J., & Eckstut, A. (2013). The Secret Language of Color. New York: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  2. Falk, D. S., Brill, D. R., & Stork, D. G. (1986). Seeing the Light. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  3. Finlay, V. (2014). The Brilliant History of Color in Art. Los Angeles: Getty Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Greenler, R. (1980). Rainbows, Halos, and Glories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Heidorn, K., & Whitelaw, I. (2010). The Field Guide to Natural Phenomena - The Secret World of Optical, Atmospheric and Celestial Wonders. Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books, Inc.Google Scholar
  6. Lamb, T., & Bourriau, J. (1995). Colour: Art and Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Lynch, D. K., & Livingston, W. (2001). Color and Light in Nature (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Minnaert, M. (1993). Light and Color in the Outdoors. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  9. Overheim, R. D., & Wagner, D. L. (1982). Light and Color. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  10. Smith, A. M. (2001). Alhacen’s Theory of Visual Perception (First Three Books of Alhacen’s de Aspectibus). Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.Google Scholar
  11. Watson, B. (2016). Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age. New York: Bloomsbury USA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas D. Rossing
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher J. Chiaverina
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Music, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA)Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.New Trier Township High SchoolWinnetkaUSA

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