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Iridescence: Nature's Spectacular Colors

An interview with physicist Peter Vukusic. Dr. Biology gets the inside story about iridescent color, the science behind it, and believe it or not a link between science, surfing and snowboarding that you may not thought about.

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MP3 download | 17MB

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Topic Time
Intro - 00:00
Iridescence - what is it ? 01:27
Nature and iridescence. 02:53
How is paint color different than iridescent color? 03:47
Paint and pigments 03:47
Iridescent color 05:59
Interference color - what is it [transverse waves] 07:12
Animals use interference color. [birds and butterflies] 09:40
Fundamentals of iridescence - layers, number of layers, and thickness . 10:28
Why are iridescent colors brighter with more layers? 11:06
Iridescent layers act as amplifiers. [law of conservation of energy] 11:49
Seeing Color - color energy and wavelength chart. 13:03
Cool models of butterfly wings. [magnification and resolution] 13:35
How did you make the models? 15:43
What have we learned from the models? 17:14
L'ORÉAL Art and Science of Color Prize 17:59
Iridescent lipstick. 18:50
Subtractive versus additive color mixing. [Green Morph Butterfly] 19:45
Pointillism -  French Painter George Seurat 21:55
Why do animals take the time and energy to make iridescent colors? 23:24
Polarization 25:00
Where else are humans going to be able to use iridescent color? 27:09
Three Questions 27:09
When did you first know you wanted to be a scientist - what was the spark? 29:33
What would you do if you were not a scientist?
[science, snow boarding, and surfing]
30:23
Advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in science
[follow your curiosity]
31:51
Sign-off and link to Vukusic web site [http://newton.ex.ac.uk/research/emag/butterflies/] 33:32

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Iridescence: Nature's Spectacular Colors

Audio editor: Charles Kazilek

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Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.