The Muser
Physics & Physiology of Color

Return to
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

Return to

Thomas Young
June 13, 1773-May 10, 1829

Thomas Young was a founder of the science of the physiology of human vision. His investigations demonstrated how the eye can focus images of objects at varying distances, and he postulated theories regarding how the eye and mind might differentiate between various colors .

Though not widely recognized for the work in his own time, he predicted that light might be a form of wave energy.

Thomas Young, and Hermann von Helmholtz were not working contemporaries, but their names are both attached to the classical theory of color vision, due to the fundamental nature of each of their labors

A linguist as well as a physicist, Young is credited with important contributions to the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone, so essential to understanding Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

© J. C. Adamson, 1997

A medically trained English physicist renowned for his research in optics.

MacAdam, David L ., Sources of Color Science (1970)
Wood, Alexander, Thomas Young, Natural Philosopher, 1773-1829 (1954).