Seeing Colour, Feeling Light

We both see and feel light. We see colours because of the way light interacts with physical objects, and we feel light because of the way it sets our biological rhythms and tunes our moods. But although the colours we see start with light and surfaces, they are ultimately made in our minds, and therefore differ from person to person. So too does the way light makes people feel. I’ll talk about these dual roles of light and colour in human behaviour, and try to answer some questions: Why are strawberries red even when they reflect blue light? Does blue light make us more alert? Did Monet have unusual colour perception? What is so special about early morning light? Why is green unique?

Professor Anya Hurlbert trained in physics, neuroscience and medicine in the US and UK, and co-founded and directed Newcastle’s Institute of Neuroscience for 10 years to 2014. Her research focuses on human colour vision, with applications in digital imaging and novel lighting technologies. She writes and lectures on colour perception and art, is former Chairman of the Colour Group (GB) and Scientist Trustee of the National Gallery and serves on international scientific advisory and editorial boards.

Please contact [email protected] for more information.