When I was a graduate student in physics, a friend of mine (who was more into art and poetry) invited me over to dinner at his place. While his wife was busy in the kitchen, we were chatting near a window in the late afternoon sunlight. Suddenly, he pointed at a bowl of fruit on a table near the window and asked me why the shadow it cast was colored purple and not black. Looking back on it, I think it was a test—that art vs. science thing. Nonetheless, I was in a profoundly philosophical mood and immediately rejoined: "It's an optical illusion. What's for dinner?" It would be another decade before I would even begin to realize how much I did not understand about color. I had no inkling then that vision and color perception are computational processes, that the brain is a differential analyzer and computed differences carry relative errors (perceptual illusions).
More recently, in a faint reprise of that illuminating but ancient episode, I was amazed to learn from Nathan and Giordano that the naming of colors is a similarly profound process, and since they are both experts, I could not be as dismissive with them as I was with my arty friend. On the contrary, I was forced to reflect on how I personally came to learn certain color names. In that landscape, my mother cuts a dominant figure.
Rumelia Syrah Wine Label
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