BBC Science Show Can Make You See Black and White Photograph in Full Colour

Do you see the photo in total colour or completely black and white...?

Science is cool. Seriously. It’s cool. We don’t care if your high-school science teacher was 60 with no hair and smelled of lost dreams. Maybe old Mr. [insert name here] wasn’t so cool, but the subject he was teaching? Badass.

Science is the thing that explains why the video of a basketball flying through the air is legit, why a red hot nickel ball can become the most interesting thing in the world, and why a very, very small amount of water balloons are able to stop a gunshot.

And what’s more? Science is able to explain how in the video below, your mind can be tricked into seeing a black and white image in full colour, having never seen the image in full colour before.

No, it’s not black magic. No it’s not witchcraft, and no, Hogwarts or Rivendell still don’t exist. No matter how much you want them to.

What is it? Science! And cell cones, to be more precise. Of course, cell cones don’t sound that exciting. They kind of sound like a downgrade from an ice cream cone. Or something that your granny would shout in an inquisitive and horrified voice when she heard the word “cell phone” for the first time.

Anyway, the Beeb and the people behind this awesome little video explain everything in more detail than we can. But put shortly, this is science at it’s most bizarre.

Here’s the awesome video which will make you see a castle, field and sky in full colour, despite the fact the photo is black and white.

So, the verdict? Well, let’s explain cell cones first. Cell cones are one of the two types of photoreceptors in our retina responsible for colour.

According to IFLS, “We have three types of cones, which are sensitive to blue, green or red wavelengths of light.

“When we’re exposed to a lot of one colour, that particular type of cone gets overstimulated and becomes “tired” and unresponsive. This leaves you temporarily with the use of only your other two types of cone, which show the opposing “complementary” colour (i.e red versus green and blue versus yellow). After a few seconds, the cones “recharge” and you’re able to perceive that colon again.”

Science, right?!

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