Nature’s Variety of Colour

Mar 16, 2011
London College of Fashion, 20 John Princes St, London, W1G 0BJ

Prof Andrew Parker, The Natural History Museum, London and Green Templeton College, Oxford University
Charles Darwin’s concerns that the eye, as a ‘perfect’ detector, could not have been the result of evolution were ill-conceived – his problem was that he had underestimated colour. Nature’s palette is far more miraculous than he had imagined – so miraculous, in fact, that it fools and misleads eyes all the time, of both animal predators and their prey. The different ways that colour is produced in nature will be presented, including pigments, fluorescence, bioluminescence and structural colour. Some unusual cases of structural colour will be used to show the potential to learn from evolution as a means to produce novel coloured effects. Some of these cases could not have been conceived by mathematical theory or spectrometers – the eye and all its eccentricities cannot be calculated.

Free Event

Time: 5.30 - 6.30pm

Please RSVP to Zoe Beck on

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