In search of blue

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Science  03 May 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6439, pp. 424-429
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6439.424

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Humans across the ages have craved to master true blue. Ancient Egyptians came up with Egyptian blue, the first synthetic pigment. In the 19th century there was a race to create a synthetic ultramarine and then a synthetic indigo. And in the 21st century, the fascination continues as a group of researchers working in different fields is trying to create new blues: A plant biotechnologist funded by Japan's largest whisky producer is trying to create a blue rose. A geologist in the United Kingdom is working to turn the common mantle mineral ringwoodite into a blue pigment that's stable on Earth's surface. A solid-state chemist in Oregon accidentally discovered a new blue that is being commercialized now. A British plant scientist is trying to create a natural blue food colorant from a plant named Clitoria. This is their story.

  • * Kai Kupferschmidt is writing a book about the color blue, to be published this autumn.

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