The Muser
Physics & Physiology of Color

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The Muser

The Color Musings
Additive Mixture
Subtractive Mixture
Complementary Colors
Primary Colors
Hue, Value, Chroma
Predicting Color Mixtures
Young's 3-color Theory
A 3-color System
Land's 2-color System
James Clerk Maxwell
Thomas Young
Hermann von Helmholtz
Edwin H. Land

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James Clerk Maxwell
Nov. 13, 1831-Nov. 5, 1879

The scope of Maxwell's work was remarkable. He demonstrated that Saturn's rings were likely composed of innumerable tiny particles, a hypothesis confirmed more than a century later by space exploration.

He used statistical methods to determine the relationships between molecular activity and temperature in gasses.

Through application of mathematics to the study of electricity and magnetism, he laid the foundations of the understanding of light, and other electromagnetic energy.

In the 1850s and 1860s he investigated the nature of color and color vision, and demonstrated the photographic reproduction of color images, using a three-color process , where scenes were first photographed, then projected using red, green, and blue filters.

© J. C. Adamson, 1997

A Scottish physicist who did pioneering research in electromagnetism and the kinetic theory of gases. He was the first Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge, after having been a professor at Marischal College in Aberdeen and later at King's College, London.

Buchwald, J. Z., From Maxwell to Microphysics (1988); Hendry, John, James Clerk Maxwell and the Theory of the Electromagnetic Field (1986); MacAdam, David L., Sources of Color Science (1970); Niven, W. D., editor, The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell (1890); Sturge, John M., editor, Neblette's Handbook of Photography and Reprography (1977);Tolstoy, Ivan , James Clerk Maxwell (1982).