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Scientific departments >> Laboratory 11 >> Grassman’s laws

Grassman’s laws

In 1853, Hermann Günther Grassmann published what later became a classic article "Zur Theorie der Farbenmischung" (On the Theory of Color Mixing), in which four laws of color mixing were formulated. Today, those laws are called by the author"s name – the Grassmanns laws.

The article was originally published in German. An English translation of the text was published almost immediately, in 1854, in the “Philosophical Magazine” but remained not very well-known.

In 1970, David McAdam included an adapted and highly abridged version of the same translation into his famous book “Sources of color science”. The most significant reductions were made in the rationale for the third and fourth laws where the linearity of the addition of colors appeared and the concept of color as a vector was introduced. Nevertheless, it is this source that is considered the main English-language version of Grassmanns text.

Since then, a lot of papers were published concerning the limitations, faults and benefits of Grassmans laws. To draw conclusions about the essence of these works, it is necessary to be able to familiarize yourself with the full translation of the text by H.G. Grassmann. Obviously, the abridged version by MacAdam could affect the perception of the essence of the stated laws by researchers who are not familiar with the full version of the publication.

A search through the literature, a comparison of the available versions of the translation, and the translation of the original article by H. G. Grassman without any reductions were carried out in the “Visual Systems” lab of the IITP RAS on the initiative of the head of laboratory, Dr. Dmitry P. Nikolaev.

The results of this almost detective investigation, links to the found versions of translations and a new complete, almost verbatim translation of the original classic publication from old German to modern English are presented on this page.

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