A while I ago I posted a rant about rainbows. It was triggered by a comment that science ruins rainbows by taking away the magic. My argument in that post was that science adds to their beauty and magic because it allows you to “see” so much more in them.
A couple of days ago I was walking across a carpark and it had just started raining. And there was a stunning rainbow on the ground:
Is it less beautiful to me because I know how the colours come to be there? Because I know the oil film is only a fraction of a micrometre thick? Because I can imagine the waves reflecting at the two interfaces, with an added pirouette at the top? Because I could write the equations and calculate the thickness of the film from the colour of the ribbon? Of course not. But is it less beautiful because I know why those ribbons are there? That the oil leaked onto the earth-covering tarmac from a petrol-gulping car? Is it less beautiful because I know the oil will flow off the carpark, and into a stormwater drain, and out to a river, and the sea? Well, it’s hard to see only beauty in a blood-red bushfire moon. It’s hard to see an iris blooming in early winter and not feel some fear. And it’s hard to see a rainbow on an oil-slick and not feel slightly sickened. But are the colours less beautiful because of that? I don’t know.
The rain has raised these
bright ribbons from the tarmac –
water, oil, air:
three layers, seven colours –
can I deny their beauty?
21 responses to “Three layers, seven colours”
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Thanks Darren! 🙂
Lovely post. 💕💕
Thanks Worms. 🙂
pot of gold
prism and lights
bent revealing true colours~
another fantastic post kudos!~
thank you !
What’s that phrase? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Thought provoking post Kate.
Thanks 🙂 I tend to over-think things.
No,no, not over-thought at all. It genuinely made me think. 😊👍
It’s hard to appreciate the beauty born of tragedy. Nice write.
I agree with your argument that science adds the fascination factor. It tells me exactly what’s happening in real time and in my case, no, it does not make the experience less beautiful but intensifies it. I think you just gave us a mini science lesson in how the rainbow came to be. You are awesome as always!
Thanks Angela 🙂
I think I was missing teaching, but I start again tomorrow. 😀
I am so glad you are going back to teach. I suspect you are a top teacher and your students appreciate you.
It was a good enough beginning today. I just wish I didn’t have a 4pm to 6pm tute!
Why, not enough time for what you have got for them? Glad it was a “good enough” beginning. 🙂
No, I just don’t like teaching that late. The students are tired, and so am I.
Ah, makes sense!