The Science of Blue

Blue has been in the news a lot lately. Which is a little weird given that it’s generally just a fabulous color. Even more interesting is that blue has been in the news for science related reasons.

First: The theory that humans didn’t see Blue until recently found on Science Alert. Basically, linguistically, blue was one of the last simple color words to enter language and that begs the question why. The theory is that until we had a word for the color, we didn’t correctly differentiate the color. It’s actually a very interesting thing especially when you read about some of the experiments done with a tribe in Namibia who have no word for blue but many words for green. They couldn’t pick out the blue on a screen but the slightest change in green shades they spotted immediately. I love seeing linguistic evidence being used in part of a more physical science query.

Second: The incredibly Indonesian Volcano that is erupting BLUE LAVA. How awesome is that? Blue Lava! Why is something we generally associate with reds, oranges, and yellows suddenly blue? It’s not like there’s some amazing lava painter running around adding dye like we do to rivers on St Patrick’s Day. It is blue because of the high concentration of sulfur.  And the lava isn’t really blue but the burning Sulfur is basically obstructing our view of the normal color we are accustomed to. Still awesome.

 

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