Fascination with the color blue I realized on picking up the books, BLUE – In search of Nature’s Rarest Color – Kai Kupferschmidt, is not a nourish-n-cherish household trait, but a universal one, and what a lovely revelation that was.
There are blues that are particularly attractive in clothing. For instance there was a deep sea blue nickname M S Blue, for the famed singer, M S Subbulakshmi first stylishly wore saris win that rich blue to concerts. Then there was the copper sulphate blue, turquoise blue, peacock blue, sky blue and navy blue.
I understand the yearning to write about the color blue. Who hasn’t been uplifted by the blue waters of a lake or ocean, or the sight of the blue skies first thing in the morning? Blue seems to assure us that we are here. We Belong on Earth – on this Pale Blue Dot.
Nevertheless, the book has many interesting aspects to the color blue. Starting from ceramics to precious stones and textile colors, the color blue has always enamored artists and patrons alike.
I found myself gleefully reading about the color, YinMn (pronounced yin-min) blue created by Dr Mas Subramanian that was later honored by having a color of its own created by Crayola the Crayon company. Made from Yttrium, Indium and Manganese, the color created a blue wave in the world of colors.
The chemical formula of YInMn Blue is YIn1-xMnxO3.
You can read about its serendipitous discovery here: https://chemistry.oregonstate.edu/content/story-yinmn-blue
As I sat watching the son in his swim class, I felt a forced sense of ease settle upon me when I opened the book to read. The swimming pool was tiled with light blue tiles, the white lighting overhead made it a calm enough locale even though there were about a hundred people in the pool area. Waters do have a calming influence if you let it. This summer, we have been swimming a little so we could appreciate the wonders of the underwater 🗺 world 🌎 in the Pacific Ocean. Closing my eyes, I can still visualize the vibrant school of fish and the large turtle in the blue waters.
I always imagined the creatures of the ocean having an even higher frequency range of light perception than humans. So I envisioned them swimming and living in a brilliant world of coral reefs and kelp forests with the myriad shades of blue contributing to its beauty. Imagine my disappointment then that the book while explaining the cones that are present in our eyes to detect color indicate that whales, seals and many denizens of our blue seas cannot perceive the color blue and may well see the teeming coral reefs as grey on grey.
That made me feel blue – I am not going to deny that. (Though I must admit the color blue has never made me feel blue, so I wonder where the expression comes from.)
This book has re-awakened a dream of two science-based books that I have been meaning to write for children. One on colors and another on how different creatures perceive our world.
When can I become a mermaid?
To explore the forests of kelp
Or a butterfly
Or a blue jay or a hummingbird
So I can see the gardens of life abound through their wondrous roving eyes.