The relation of physical light to colour perception has fascinated and divided scientific opinion since Newton showed in 1672 that white light can be sliced into a multicoloured spectrum. Paul Martin will present a brief “unauthorized” history of colour vision science, “Newton’s red Hering”, with emphasis on the physical and philosophical minds who brought progress in the field, including Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Hermann von Helmholtz and Ewald Hering.
Paul R. Martin is Professor of Experimental Ophthalmology at the Save Sight Institute, University of Sydney. His abiding research interests are signal processing in nervous systems and the neurobiology of colour vision in mammals. He has published over 100 scientific articles, reviews, and book chapters on these topics. The research has shown how distinct nerve pathways in humans and other primates analyze colour in terms of its "red-green" and "blue-yellow" components, clarifying how physical light influences human perception. By combining expertise in the diverse disciplines of anatomy, physiology and human visual performance, his laboratory addresses the fundamental question of how the eye and brain work together to enable colour perception.
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