Light and Color

NOTE: The five Color Interactives below require WebGL - a Javascript API that is built into most modern browsers including those on mobile devices such as phones and tablets. Older browsers may include WebGL as a non-default feature that can be enabled. If the Interactive fails to load, it may be time to update your browser or to enable WebGL.

Electromagnetic Spectrum Infographic
For some time, the public domain infographic from 1944 that was rescued from the trash and made popular by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories has fascinated science teachers of all disciplines. And now The Physics Classroom has made an Interactive version that will allow students to explore its many layers of information and glean an understanding of electromagnetic waves as made popular by this timeless piece of science and art.

RGB Color Addition
Turn on the colored spotlights. Adjust their intensity. And learn some principles of color addition. View a computer image in terms of its red, green, and blue color components. Even upload your own image and view its RGB components.

Painting with CMY
The football coach wants new uniforms and you're in charge! Oddly enough the uniform supplier wants you to place the order by indicating what colors of pigments should be imparted to the fabric. It's time for you to learn about colored pigments and the rules of color subtraction. Open our Interactive and start painting. You'll learn the rules in no time and we'll even clean the mess up for you.

Colored Shadows
Did you know that the color appearance of an object can be changed by changing the color of light that shines on it? It can! And now you can find out how by using our Colored Shadows Interactive. You can explore the color appearance of a person and of the shadows creating by that person on a white screen with our Colored Shadows simulation.

Colored Filters
Perhaps you have looked at the world through sunglasses that have a colored tint. Exactly how do they work? We can answer this question as we would many questions in life. They work because of physics. And in this simulation, you will probe the answer by learning about color filters. You won't need any expensive lasers; we'll provide those for you. You won't even need any colored-tinted sunglasses; we got you covered there too. All you need is an inquisitive mind and our Colored FIlters Interactive.

Stage Lighting
The curtains open, the theater lights dim, the actors enter the stage, and you begin enjoying the school play. And then all of sudden, the stage lights change colors and the actors appear ... different. The yellow shirt of your favorite actor turns green, leaving you wondering exactly what is going on. Of course, you've just witnessed Physics! And now its time to let all that wondering about colored spotlights and the appearance of actors on the stage turn to understanding. So open this Stage Lighting Interactive and start finding some answers.

Young's Experiment
Did you know that light behaves as a wave and has a wavelength? That's right, it does. In fact, the wavelength of the light that the human eye detects is less than one-millionth of a meter in length. That's pretty small. And amazingly enough, scientists can make a few simple measurements and calculate its wavelength. All that is needed is a laser, a slide with a couple of closely-spaced slits, and a screen. Don't have the materials handy? That's OK because we have them on loan at our Physics Interactive titled Young's Experiment. So tap on that link and let's get started.


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