Did you know that pink does not exist in physics? Although it is present in other fields of knowledge, such as neuroscience, pink cannot be “explained” in the sciences that investigate natural phenomena.
In a Twitter thread that went viral in recent days after the world premiere of Barbie in theaters, physicist Roberta Duarte and a doctoral student in astrophysics explained that there is no wavelength associated with the color pink and explained why.
First you need to understand how colors are seen in physics. According to the specialist, for this field of knowledge, colors are wavelengths of light, and the range of these lengths is called the electromagnetic spectrum, which ranges from gamma rays to radio waves.
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Roberta explained that humans are able to observe periods of this spectrum, the so-called visible spectrum, which ranges from 400 nanometers (nm) to 700 nanometers. This spectrum is associated with a color palette, which I highlighted with photos:
The sun, for example, has an emission peak in green, which means that most of the photons that the star emits are in this range. “It affects how we humans evolved and how other animals (such as nocturnal animals) evolved to see.”
Thus, the eyes become tools that receive photons of these lengths and carry information to our brain, and colors are how the brain interprets these photons.
However, there is no pink color in the visible spectrum, i.e. there is no wavelength associated with the color pink.
The expert explains when the pink color will appear
Roberta also made reservations that if the two ends of the spectrum were united in a circle, then pink would appear, since there would be a mixture of violet and blue with red. However, the visible spectrum is linear.
In this way, the brain “creates” the color pink from the reception of two wavelengths. An “illusion,” as Roberta categorized it, shows that no physical process generates the colouring.
“But of course you could argue that: the brain creates all colors! Yes, and that’s true. All colors are interpretations of our brains. The point here is: there is no single wavelength associated with the color pink,” the physicist justified.
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