The Life And Times Of Roy G. Biv

Craig F. Bohren

Last year a television crew came to my town to film part of a program on color. The director had the bright idea of filming me lecturing about color to grade-school children. Never having taught pupils so young, I only reluctantly agreed to take part in this scheme. The students were carefully selected from the academic fast lane. So that I would not face a completely unknown audience, I asked to meet them while the cameramen were setting up their paraphernalia. I confessed to the students that I was at a disadvantage by not knowing what they knew about color. This prompted one of the teachers in the room to beam proudly and assert, "They know all about Roy G. Biv." "Humph," was my unguarded response, "he ought to be shot." And so, with this inauspicious beginning, I did my best to convince the students that, although Roy G. Biv might be a useful device for remembering color order, the seven letters of his name did not exhaust the gamut of colors.

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