March 15, 2007 10:57am CST
Is the color Black the absence of all colors or, does it have all the colors in it?
• Cambridge, England
7 Feb 08
If you define colour as the particular frequencies of light reaching the eye, then black is a total absence of light and a black object absorbs all the light that hits it. Black paint is the 'colour' of paint that absorbs all light, so it must contain all the colours, in a sense. The problem is that we use the word colour to define two different things, really. Green paint, for example absorbs all colours except green light, which it reflects, so we call the paint green (when it is really the light that it reflects that is green). Every child knows, however that if you mix red, blue and yellow paint you get a (kind of) black but if you mix red, blue and yellow light you get white (more or less).