The Society makes grants both to individuals and to organisations in support of cultural and scientific activities which increase innovation, outreach and diversity in Leeds and its immediate area. It also supports local museums and galleries and publications relating to the city.

About the Society

The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, founded in 1819, is a charity that promotes interest in science, literature and the arts – in the city of Leeds and beyond. We have meetings, lectures, entertainments, publications and visits.

Does Colour Exist?

A vividly illustrated talk exploring our understanding of colour – Professor Stephen Westland

‘The rays are not coloured,’ wrote Isaac Newton in 1666. He was claiming that light in the visible spectrum is not actually coloured; it just looks coloured. This idea stretches back much further than the seventeenth century to ancient thinking and Democritus.

Yet it certainly seems that colour is a property of the world. It feels as though objects in the world really are coloured.

This lecture explores our modern understanding of colour and presents many visual examples, including those that are often referred to as illusions. Are we any closer to understanding the nature of colour and can we finally answer the question of whether colour exists?

See what you think:

Stephen Westland, Professor of Colour Science at the University of Leeds, teaches and researches on many aspects of colour including colour ontology, colour design, colour imaging and the use of colour in textiles, automotive industry, cosmetics and dentistry. He’s published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and several text books and is currently a member of the Colour Literacy Project.

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