Blue In Search of Nature’s Rarest Colour is the second book I read about that colour. This first one was Blue The History of a Colour by Michel Pastoureau, and I was fascinated by it. When I saw this book by Kai Kupferschmidt, I knew I’d enjoy it. I wsn^t wrong, I’ve learned a lot from this book, and they are not just about the colour.
This book is about how rare and precious that colour is. And since Kai Kupferschmidt is a correspondent for Science magazine, this book is more about the science of the colour. To be honest, I didn’t expect to read so much science, but it was fun. Yes, there were parts I didn’t fully understand; still, I managed to look at the colour differently. And I know a little about how our eyes work and how light works.
If you are interested in science and love to learn more about this rare colour and light, you’ll love this, a lot. Enjoy!
Blue In Search of Nature’s Rarest Colour
A globe-trotting quest to find the colour in the natural world–and to understand our collective obsession with this bewitching colour
It is a rare colour–natural blue, that is. From morpho butterflies in the rain forest to the blue jay flitting past your window, vanishingly few living things are blue–and most that appear so are doing sleight of hand with physics or complex chemistry. Flowers modify the red pigment anthocyanin to achieve their blue hue. Even the blue sky above us is a trick of the light.
Yet this hard-to-spot accent colour in our surroundings looms large in our affections. Science journalist Kai Kupferschmidt has been fascinated by the colour since childhood. His quest to find and understand his favourite colour and its hallowed place in our culture takes him to a gene-splicing laboratory in Japan, a volcanic lake in Oregon, and to Brandenburg, Germany–home of the last Spix’s macaws. From deep underground where blue minerals grow into crystals to miles away in space where satellites gaze down at our “blue marble” planet, wherever we do find blue, it always has a story to tell.
Kai is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine based in Berlin, Germany. He is the author of a book about the colour, published in 2019.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: