What is Iridescence? Definition, Meaning & Concept

iridescent person: Brilliant, lustrous, or colorful in effect or appearance

By looking at a simple soap ball, we can see a range of colors inside. These are the colors of the rainbow and this example illustrates a phenomenon in nature, iridescence. We are faced with a phenomenon that occurs with some frequency, for example, oil stains on a wet floor, when the colors reflect in thin films of water, when observing the feathers of a real peacock or simply when we see the sky after a storm and the rainbow appears.

The term iridescence comes from the Greek word iris, which means light. Like many other words, its origin is found in Greek mythology (in the Iliad, Iris was a deity who acted as one of the messengers of the gods).

This phenomenon began to be understood about 300 years ago

In one of his experiments, English scientist Isaac Newton focused a beam of light on a prism and observed that white light is made up of different colors. Iridescence

In a parallel experiment, he mixed all the colors and thus created a white light. In this way, when a prism refracts light, its particular shape causes the light to be divided into colors. It is an optical phenomenon that depends on the angle of illumination and the angle of observation.

Iridescence occurs when two or more light waves are grouped or overlapped to create a wave of distinct amplitude.

The coloration of the animal and plant kingdom is related to this optical phenomenon. In this sense, the color of the elements is the result of the action of light on the structure of matter (the color of a living being is not always due to the pigments it has, but rather to its internal structure). Iridescence

Other meanings and approaches

Light can be explained through scientific language, but it also has a unique semantic value. It can be said that it serves as a metaphor to explain ideas and feelings (we say that a person we love is our light or we compare the idea of ​​God with a divine light). In a similar sense, an iridescent person is one who has a special light. This adjective is also used to refer to people with many dimensions in their life.

For adherents of apocalyptic doctrines, the iridescent clouds bring a special message: they announce the proximity of a planetary catastrophe. Iridescence

In the art world, there are several examples related to this optical phenomenon: there are oil pastels and iridescent pigments with which it is possible to create original visual effects, photographs that imitate the action of the rainbow, decorative geometric figures, etc. In these cases, it can be said that art imitates nature.

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