In 300 B.C. (approximately), Greek philosopher Aristotle first attempted to describe the rainbow. In this way, he began the development of the earliest, rudimentary ideology of colour theory, based on a few simple laws of optics: When sun shines from a relatively low angle through water droplets suspended in air, an individual observing will see a rainbow; as sunlight hits the water cloud, light is reflected back to the observer at a fixed angle. Within this cloud will be a fixed set of points that appear “brighter” to the observer––this is light that is reflected directly into the eyes. This set of points creates the well-known circular arc of the rainbow.



Though Aristotle was far from discovering the most intimate facets of colour theory, his findings paved the way for further studies by scientists and philosophers alike until the definitive discoveries made by Newton in the 17th Century. Surprisingly, Aristotle’s early forays into colour theory––known as ‘Aristotle’s Theory for Rainbow Formation’––are still used in the development of today’s computer graphics.


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