The Science Quiz | The Colour Black

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Questions:

1. There are many similar roots for the word ‘black’ in English, such as “bhleg” from the Proto-Indo-European language and “blach” from the Old High German. Specify a Sanskrit word that means ‘black’ or ‘dark’ and is also the name of a Hindu deity.

2. Name the chemical coating announced by the U.K. National Physical Laboratory and Surrey NanoSystems in 2014. This coating – part of whose name stands for “vertically aligned (carbon) nanotube arrays” – was until 2019 the blackest substance known to humans.

3. In 2019, researchers at this private university in the U.S. reported a material – also composed of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes – that they found could absorb 99.995% of all the light incident on it, rendering its appearance even darker than the substance in Q2. Name the university.

4. When a pure colour is mixed with black, it gives rise a shade of that colour. Shades differ from the ‘parent’ colour only in their lightness, not in their ____________. Fill in the blank with a term from colour theory that denotes a combination of a colour’s hue and intensity.

5. In the 14th century, people were able to make a deep black dye from ____-____, which were small tumours that typically grow on oak trees. These tumours were formed when some wasps secreted some substances into the tree. Fill in the blanks.

Visual:

In this cross-sectional view of the retina, name the cells at the extreme right. They enable vision when it is dark but can’t sense colours. RAMON Y CAJAL (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Answers:

1. Krishna

2. Vantablack

3. MIT

4. Chromaticity

5. Gall-nuts

Visual: Rod cells

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