From my journal, dated Wednesday, March 16, 2005:
There is an article in the New York Times about a blue lobster. Lobsters have a combination of red and blue pigments which give them camouflage on the ocean floor. The red color is from the astaxanthin molecule, a relative of beta carotene, the chemical that gives carrots their orange color. The blue color comes from crustacyanin (astaxanthin clumped together with a protein). According to the article, one in a million lobsters is blue. One theory is that the protein pulls the astaxanthin molecules close together, and the change in the orbits of electrons causes the absortion of red light.
Color – what an amazing thing it is. I studied color in psychology courses in college, from the physical causes represented by wave frequencies to absorption and reflection, to the biological mechanisms in the eye and brain that are responsible for color perception. There is also an aesthetic dimension to color. Colors give expression to emotions and add to the drama of works of art.
I am fascinated by the concept of color. What is absorption and why does it happen? What is reflection? What are complementary colors, and what makes them so? There are so many questions that it is probably impossible to answer, but I love asking them and thinking about them. I suppose pondering unanswerable questions gives a deep satisfaction because of its very basis in mystery – like the mysterion in which we contemplate and discover God. Perhaps the essence of these unanswerable questions is ultimately part of God.