September 30, 2019

    Pink is real...or is it? (

    Next time you are at a gender reveal party or walking down the Barbie aisle at the toy store or buying Pepto Bismol, ask yourself if you are really seeing all the pink you think you are seeing. Huh? Let’s explain. There is a scientific theory that the color pink does not exist and that it is, in fact, a scientific impossibility. Here’s why. 

    White light is made up of all the visible light waves. (

    Color Is Light

    The colors that we see are simply different wave lengths of light that reflect off an object. Our eye perceives that wavelength as a color in the spectrum. You may remember from middle school science class that light is comprised of different wavelengths and that the human eye can only see a portion of it. We call that visible light. A spectrum can break that visible light into the various colors of the rainbow—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. We used the mnemonic memory device, ROYGBIV, to remember these colors and the order in which they appear. 

    Pink is not on the light spectrum. (

    Where is Pink?

    Take another look at ROYGBIV. There is no P. Where is the pink on the spectrum? It is not there because, theoretically, it doesn’t exist. Various shades of a color are created because the light waves from one color blend with the light waves from an adjacent color. Teal, for example, it a blend of green and its neighbor, blue. But, this doesn’t explain how we see pink

    Pink is made by mixing blue and red, yet these colors are on opposite ends of the light spectrum. (

    Pink Shouldn’t Exist

    Pink is the blend of red and violet. The problem is, red and violet are not next to each other on the color spectrum. In fact, they are at opposite ends of the spectrum. It is scientifically impossible for red and violet to merge together to create the color pink. And, yet we have the color pink

    Most light waves are not visible to the human eye. (

    All the Light We Cannot See

    If you were to take the linear color spectrum and roll it up into a circle, we can force red and violet to meet. This is not, however, accurate. The red side of the spectrum should not meet with the violet side because of all the light we cannot see. These include ultraviolet, infrared, gamma rays, radio waves, and x-rays. Since the human eye cannot see these light waves, our eyes are tricked into filling in the gap with the color pink

    Remember the viral debate over this dress a few years ago? It was an example of how our brains see color differently. (

    We See Colors With Our Brains

    This trick of pink is not unusual. In fact, since color is just a bunch of reflected light, it doesn’t really exist. Our brains perceive color from the data that our eyes collect, and that data is just a bunch of light. Our brains decode this information and color in the pictures for us. As a noted biologist, Timothy H. Goldsmith explained, “color is not actually a property of light or of objects that reflect it. It is a sensation that arises within the brain.” It could be that each person “sees” colors differently, but our brains label the colors with the names we have been told they are. Sound confusing? Think of it this way: imagine two people looking at a blue car. One person’s brain may perceive it as blue, so he declares that the car is blue. The other person my perceive the car as yellow, but he has always been taught that the name for the color he sees is blue, so he also declares the car to be blue. This is exactly how that whole “What color is this dress?” debate blew up on social media a few years ago.

    Pink and green do not coexist. (

    Pink Is Not Green

    We know that white light is a combination of all the light waves in the visible spectrum. Pink is the effect that you get if you remove all the green light from the white light. White light minus green gives us pink

    Alecia Moore, known professionally as Pink (stylized as P!nk) performed a sold out show. (Photo by Angel Marchini/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

    Tickled Pink

    Pink may be a scientific anomaly, but it is still deeply rooted in our culture. If it weren’t for the color pink, where would Victoria Secret, Piglet, Bubblicious bubble gum, cotton candy, and Alecia Moore (the singer you know as P!NK) be? Pink may be a scientific impossibility, but we are still tickled pink to have this color party crash the color spectrum. 

    Does the colour Pink exist?
    Recent research even indicates that people can be made to see "forbidden colors"—greens that are tinted red, or blues that appear yellow. Sign up for Scientific American's free newsletters. Pink is real—or it is not—but it is just as real or not-real as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. more
    Does pink fire exist?
    As copper heats up, it absorbs energy that's manifested in the form of a green flame. A pink flame, on the other hand, indicates the presence of lithium chloride. And burning strontium chloride will create a red flame. Of course, you should avoid burning chemicals due to the potential health hazards it poses. more
    Does pink chocolate exist?
    Yes, you read that right—pink chocolate does exist, and it could hit the market soon. Swiss manufacturer Barry Callebaut just announced that it has invented the very first pink-hued cocoa, called ruby chocolate. Each bite has a fruity, berry-like flavor, thanks to the Ruby cocoa beans the chocolate is made from. more
    Is strawberry pink a colour?
    The color strawberry, unlike pink, is a more informal description of pink. That is, in the same way as pink; it can be achieved with the combination of red and white. more
    Do pink butterflies exist?
    Many experts say that there are no butterflies that are really pink in color, though some species may appear pink due to iridescence. Pink is not a color that exists in nature, it is not a wavelength or particle, and does not appear in the visible spectrum. more
    Does pink color exist?
    Recent research even indicates that people can be made to see "forbidden colors"—greens that are tinted red, or blues that appear yellow. Sign up for Scientific American's free newsletters. Pink is real—or it is not—but it is just as real or not-real as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. more
    Does Pink Kryptonite exist?
    In case you're wondering, yes, Pink Kryptonite does exist in the DC Universe. more
    Do pink planets exist?
    There is a pink exoplanet circling a star very much like our own, 57 light-years away from Earth. But its origins are a mystery. In a new study announcing the magenta gas giant, researchers were able to directly image this exoplanet using the Subaru telescope on Hawaii. more
    Do pink diamonds exist?
    Certified natural Fancy Vivid pink diamonds are the most expensive diamonds on the market ranging in price from 30,000 to 100,000 per carat, 20 times the price of a white diamond. The majority of all pink diamonds mined come from one source in Australia, the Argyle Mine. more
    What colour neutralizes pink?
    What Color Neutralizes Pink? Green neutralizes pink. Here's how color theory works. In order to offset the pink tones in your hair, you'll need to apply a color that cancels it out. more
    What colour compliments pink?
    Pink and green complement each other like black and white. Since outdoor weddings are hugely popular, pink and green is an obvious colour combo. Blush just pops next to the greens of leaves and grass. At home, emerald and blush make great partners. more


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