fun factspopular science

pink does not exist?

I’ve gotta warn you.

Someone is trying to take the (color) pink down.

‘Someone’ as in — our eyes. And our brain tries to cover it up and produce it for our eyes all the time.

It turns out (and this is not a new development, it’s just something science is putting in my face continuously), there is no pink in a rainbow. It isn’t there.

Red is there. Violet is there. Green is there. Blue, too.

These colors are bands of light that scientists can measure. So they are out there. They exist.

Imagine the rainbow.

When you look at it, curiously, you will notice that red is on one side, violet on the opposite side.

Here lays the main ‘pink does not exist’ issue.

So, pink or magenta happens when the red and violet sides get together.

But. They never actually don’t get together. Which, as it turns out, makes pink an act of wishful thinking, or, to put it bluntly — pink is a made-up color. You are allowed to be suspicious. Or shocked.

I know, of course, all colors are just waves of light, so every color we “see,” we see with our brains.

Also, true, no single wavelength of light appears pink. Pink requires a mixture of red and purple light — again, colors from opposite ends of the visible spectrum.

But what science says is that there is no such thing as a band of wavelengths that mix red and violet, and therefore, pink is not a real wavelength of light.

That’s why pink is an invention. It’s not a name we give to something out there. Pink isn’t out there. It’s only in our brains?


Pink is not found in the ROY G. BIV electromagnetic spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet in the rainbow). That shouldn’t mean that it’s not a color (anymore).

However, there’s a key distinction between colors of light and of pigment, between additive color and subtractive color.

As Newton figured out, white light is a compendium of all the parts of the visible spectrum.

This is the additive model of color.

Take away the blue hues, and a white light will appear yellowish, for example.

Yet, when you combine paints of every color, you get black.

That is subtractive color theory, in which black, not white, represents the presence of all colors.

Additive color is the realm of transmitted light, while subtractive color is the realm of pigments, dyes, and chemicals.

Of course, pink is a color, but with that said, pink is indeed not part of the light spectrum. It is just not there.

It’s an extra-spectral color, and it has to be mixed to generate it.

A pink wavelength of light doesn’t exist, and this is where the argument seems to have started.

Thinking of pink the way we think of transmitted light is confusing, hence the controversy.

Here’s the thing:

When you look at a pink object — or in science language, a thing that contains pigments or dyes which render it pink to light receptor cells in your eyes — you are not seeing pink wavelengths of light.

An object appears pink because certain wavelengths of light are reflected, and others are absorbed, quenched, by the pigments.

Pink is a reflective color, not a transmissive color — you can perceive it because your brain translates light bouncing off it. Color is a construct of our eyes and brains.

If you take a tube of red paint and add white to it, you’ll get pink. If you work with watercolors, take red paint and add a lot of water to it and put it on watercolor paper, that would be pink. Technically it’s right that you can’t generate pink in the rainbow colors. But you can mix other colors in light to get pink. … This is about interpreting the visual world.

So there you have it.

Don’t let the pink be Pluto’d.

Leave a reply

Next Article:

0 %