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The width of a colour

(published 26 November 2010)

Today is my niece’s birthday and I have failed to get her present into the post as I was waiting in for an electrician at the necessary time yesterday. Bad aunty (but I hope she’ll like the present, so am optimistic about being forgiven). It is after eight already and the glowing yellow light of the sun, as it appears above the field to the east, is illuminating my wall and the trees in front of me; the last leaves are stunning shades of golden orange and russet, still against the pale blue sky beyond. A beautiful morning.

I have only a few minutes as I must go to do another job for the day, but wanted to write something I had been thinking about yesterday with regard to truth and subjectivity, in art and in science, in fact and in fiction. It is not a new thought, to me, and when gone into properly is quite long (especially the fully illustrated version), but there is a kernel of it that I wanted to ponder here, since it is embedded within all that I set before you; my truth that I present to you.

Bugger... I have just rewritten the next sentence several times and scrapped them all – it seems that the truth is not being readily accessible just now; toying with me as it wriggles around in my head, knowing that time is chewing at my heels. Today is not the occasion for it to be laid bare here; it will not stay still long enough for me to pin it to this page. So instead I shall offer a thought; a question, which to me looks like it may be connected, but may just as well not be (and maybe has a very simple answer – if so please do illuminate me). As I sit here at the computer I have been looking out at the trees across the way and wondering how many shades of green or brown (etc) there are? (I believe it is a question that Pantone also consider, although they are probably interested in what difference the (human) eye can discriminate, which is a different question.) What I want to know is whether there is a smallest fundamental unit of wavelength? Since I understand photons as having a finite unit size this question also translates in my head as to whether there is something akin to a photon equivalent of colour change?

On that note I’ll go and get into another world for the day. Answers on a postcard please (and I’ll tell you about my Holmes and Watson thoughts tomorrow).

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