UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Why can we see colors? And why can we see light?
Answer 1:

This is a good question.
The eye has special cells call photo receptors that help us see light and color. Specifically, there are two types of photo receptors called cones and rods. When scientists discovered cones and rods, they called named them based on their so they look like sharp rods and cones. Cones are concentrated in the fovea and help us see color and light whereas rods are in the periphery and help us see light in darker conditions.

Hope you are intrigued to ask more questions and pursue science and engineering.


Answer 2:

We have cells in our eyes that pick up different frequencies (colors) of light. Light behaves like a traveling wave and has a frequency, and the higher the frequency, the bluer (and brighter) the light.

Different kinds of cells pick up different frequencies, which is how we can tell one color from another.


Answer 3:

The only "light" we can detect with our eyes is actually the part of the electromagnetic spectrum called the "visible spectrum." We are unable to "see" other kinds of light, such as UV, XRay, Microwave, or Infrared with our eyes. So why can we see visible light? We have special types of neuron called photoreceptors in our eyes that detect photons (the "particles" that comprise light), and convert that information into biological signals that our bodies can process.



Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use