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When Snow Melts, Where Does the White Go?

The riddle-like nature of this question tickles me. How can something so bright leave no trace? (Grape juice won't do that.) We'll see the answer soon, and we'll have some fun in the kitchen. Let's first ask, "Is white a color?" In a sense it is, for it is all colors added together. That makes it a unique color, but it still obeys the color laws of addition and subtraction. Some nice experiments suggested in earlier "Light Touch" columns help illustrate these rules. White does give two unique results: A white object will return the color of any light shined on it unchanged, and white dilutes any pure colors mixed with it rather than creating a new color.

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When Snow Melts, Where Does the White Go?

The riddle-like nature of this question tickles me. How can something so bright leave no trace? (Grape juice won't do that.) We'll see the answer soon, and we'll have some fun in the kitchen. Let's first ask, "Is white a color?" In a sense it is, for it is all colors added together. That makes it a unique color, but it still obeys the color laws of addition and subtraction. Some nice experiments suggested in earlier "Light Touch" columns help illustrate these rules. White does give two unique results: A white object will return the color of any light shined on it unchanged, and white dilutes any pure colors mixed with it rather than creating a new color.

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Publish Date: 01 January 1995


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