Where physics meets biology: Pigment colors and structural colors


You may be wondering what physics has to do with biology? Well, here I will provide you an example to show the connection between these two branches of science. I will use color of butterfly wings and color of human skin as examples to explain pigment colors and structural colors.

Let us take vibrantly colored wings of butterflies, which are made of tiny overlapping scales. These scales are at different angles which reflect and refract light differently. Based on the angle of the scales, we see different colors. This is an example of structural color.

Color of human skin is due to melanin pigment. Pigments are chemical in nature. Melanin is synthesized by the skin cells of both dark and light skinned people. Variation of skin color in humans is based on quantity, form of melanin synthesized and exposure to sunlight.

Structural colors get displayed fast, they are sharp, bright and can change color rapidly whereas pigments in biological systems are drab, slow to express and remain displayed for a longer time.

Pigment colors and structural colors

Image courtesy Unsplash.com

Read to get more information about structural colors  in biological systems.

If students getting ready for standardized tests such as SAT, ACT etc. need help with understanding concepts in physics, Full Potential Learning Academy (FPLA) is here to help you on One on One basis either on site or online. Call: 305 826 1896 to schedule a class. FPLA has been effectively helping students for the past 20 years!

About the author: Dr. Sarkar is a faculty at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL. She is passionate about the impact of science in our life. She inspires her students with her infectious enthusiasm.

About US:


FPLA is Miami’s premier tutoring center in reading, math, science, and test preparation programs. You can realize your dreams with the help of FPLA’s time-tested and dependable one-on-one tutoring both onsite and online.At FPLA, we encourage your child to aspire to a bright future by empowering them with academic and life skills in a positive learning environment that is equipped with a variety of learning resources.

We tutor K-12, college and adult learners in all subjects and levels, including honors, AP, IB, Cambridge programs and more. Our professionally trained qualified tutors provide course assistance for all areas of Science, namely Chemistry (AP, Honors, college, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry), Biology (AP, honors, cell biology, anatomy, physiology, genetics, biotechnology, molecular biology and more), 

Image courtesy Unsplash.com

Physics, and all levels of mathematics (middle school math, pre-algebra, algebra 1, algebra 2, geometry, precalculus, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, business math, college algebra and more).

Thanks to our state-of-the-art online platform

you can learn from our expert tutors one-on-one from the comfort of your home. This live One-on-One program ensures stability, dependability, and consistency in the quality of student tutor interactions. Call 305-826-1896 for a free consultation and schedule a demo of our live one-on-one online session.

FPLA tutors:

Our tutors are not just experts in their subjects, but expert tutors as well! Test prep tutors are graduates or college students who took the tests recently. All our tutors have undergone a rigorous selection process, were extensively trained, and continually apply the best tutoring practices to ensure that your child gets the best chance at academic improvement.

Over the year, hundreds of students have improved their SAT* results by on an average 220-320 points and 3-5 points in ACT* scores. Do not wait to get one-on-one tutoring and discover ways to earn top scores in SAT/ACT* tests. Take a minute to fill out the Contact Us form and we will promptly follow up. For more details call us at 305-826-1896 or explore us at https://www.fullpotentialtutor.com/test-prep-help/. If you still have any questions about one-on-one tutoring, e-mail to smedia@fullpotentialtutor.com. We look forward helping you earn top scores in SAT/ACT* tests!