An important aspect of science education involves helping students learn to read and communicate scientific information and arguments. In this note, I would like to share a resource that I have come across which I have found to be a useful tool for helping students improve those skills, learn content material, and acquaint them with a great scientist. Specifically, this is having non-science college students in my course Light, Color and Vision read and discuss a letter by James Clerk Maxwell entitled “On the Theory of Colours in Relation to Colour-Blindness” (see Fig. 1).

1.
Board on Science Education
,
A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas
(
National Academy Press
,
Washington, DC
,
2012
).
2.
In
W. D.
Niven
(ed.),
The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell
, Vol.
1
(
Cambridge University Press
,
1890
), pp.
119
125
, https://archive.org/details/scientificpapers01maxw, accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
In a review of the Dover edition,
C.H.
Dwight
commented, “
This complete edition of the works of the brilliant Scottish physicist and mathematician should be in the library of every serious student of physics for both reference and inspiration
,”
Am. J. Phys.
35
,
361
(
April
1967
).
3.
R.
Dougal
,
C.
Greated
, and
A.
Marson
, “
Then and now: James Clerk Maxwell and color
,”
Opt. Laser Technol.
38
,
210
218
(
June
2006
).
4.
P. J.
Hartog
, “Wilson, George (1818–1859),” rev.
R. G. W.
Anderson
,
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
(
Oxford University Press
,
2004
), http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29651, accessed Nov. 21,
2016
.
5.
The lighting during this demonstration is crucial
.
Fluorescent lamps flicker at a rate that our eyes don’t notice, but it is enough to disrupt the color blending effect unless spun extremely fast
.
Incandescent lighting works much better
.
6.
L.
Parsons
, “
As easy as R, G, B
,”
Phys. Teach.
36
,
347
348
(
Sept.
1998
).
7.
I use the fairly inexpensive Carson MicroMax scopes, which can be placed directly on the screen and easily have enough resolution to show individual pixels.
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