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May 28, 2013 / Fantelius

Atomic Color

We are taught in school that nature’s greenery results from chlorophyll. No one ever asks why chlorophyll is green. We could as well be told that the green is the result of the blue sky and yellow sun.

A magnesium atom captured in the pocket (heme group) of a chlorophyll molecule breaks light in such a way that green remains. Magnesium is responsible for nature’s greenery. Other atoms break colors differently and cause the spectrum of the flower parade.

The pocket of a chlorophyll molecule is nearly identical to the pocket of the blood protein hemoglobin. But hemoglobin captures an iron atom. The iron atom bears responsibility for blood’s red color.

Because the key difference between blood and chlorophyll is a single atom—iron or magnesium—nanotechnology and gene modification techniques may some day produce human hair that can gather energy directly from the sun. Perhaps. Get ready for new energy-green hair styles.



“We have 3D color vision but like to judge things in black and white.”
Dartwill Aquila

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