When the last blue pigment was discovered, Thomas Jefferson was in the White House. The recent creation of YInMn blue is a thrilling tale complete with expletives, accidents and invisible abilities. Just ask chemist and materials scientist Mas Subramanian.
There are no new colors in the world to be discovered — at least that’s what anyone who’s ever shopped for paint might think. At hardware and home stores, you can find swatches and cards with every subtle inflection of ROYGBIV (and white and black and brown and more). And if you still can’t find the shade you’re looking for, just show the paint person a photo or chip and they’ll stir up a custom batch for you.
But discovering a new pigment — now that’s an entirely different and rarer occurrence, especially when it comes to blue.