Saturday, December 1, 2012
A feast of anthocyanins and xanthophylls
I love the rainbow of colors I find on the ground until the first serious snow covers them up. It's a visual feast, but these same chemicals that give fruits like blueberries and grapes and vegetables like squashes and carrots their color have nutritional value, so they are an actual culinary feast as well.
I find that the more I learn about the chemical processes involved in their creation, the more beautiful they become to me.
This reminds me of an issue I've discussed with friends, that is, does scientific knowledge about rainbows diminish their beauty? Did Newton ruin our enjoyment by "unweaving the rainbow," as Richard Dawkins calls Newton's discoveries in a book by that title? I'm with Dawkins. The more we learn, the more possibilities of beauty are open to us. That is, if the big words of organic chemistry don't scare us off.