Today’s modern understanding of light and color was created by Isaac Newton (1642-1726) and he wrote about his experiments 1672. Issac Newton was the first to understand that the rainbow was a result of refracting white light with a prism and its results into components of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. In the late 1660s, people thought that color was a mixture of light and darkness and prisms colored light. Newton’s theory proved that this interpretation was wrong.
Issac Newton designed a prism which is a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces that will refract light in at least two of those flat surfaces need to have an angle between them. He placed the prism near his window, and projected a beautiful spectrum 22 feet onto the far wall. To prove that the prism was not coloring the light, he refracted the light back together.
Many were amazed by Issac Newton’s clear demonstration that light alone was responsible for color. It later developed into the conceptual arrangement of colors around the circumference of a circle (right), which allowed primaries (red, yellow, blue) to be arranged opposite their complementary colors (e.g. red opposite green), as a way of stand as a symbol that each complementary would enhance the other’s effect through optical contrast. In order to understand color, we must learn how the human eye dissects the formation of colors to sight. The human eye has two different types of cells that allows us to see colors. The cones ae numbered into six to seven million and are located in the center of the eye given the name fovea. The fovea is the part of the eye that receives light from where we are directly watching objects. Cones are very sensitive to the light and is formed of two types that are subjected to various colors. The first type being more sensitive to red and green lights, while the other is more sensitive to yellow and blue light. The second type for vision are rods which are numbered in about 150 million and controls peripheral vision. Rods are more sensitive in dim light than cones but are not capable of detecting color. So when we see color it is really differences in the wavelengths of light. A single wavelength of light can generated color such as red and green, while others are produced by light containing a number of wavelengths such as pink and purple. Colors are made up of having a single wavelength having all their intensity at a single spot where others contain a mix of wavelengths. Our eyes may perceive the same color because of its multiple densities, so this is the reason that a color model was produced that would map each visible color into a unique spectral density. This model composed colors into specifications by a hue, saturation and its luminance. The hue of a color in wavelength is the most