Why do we see the mirror as purely reflective of what surrounds it?
“I’m sure I’ve heard a mirror is actually white?” Well this is where the fun bit comes in, the science behind the reflections is that white does indeed make some sense as white does reflect all light, and in turn black absorbs all light. However, when it comes to white you’re obviously wondering why that mug on your desk or the shirt on your back doesn’t reflect the tapestry of colors around you?
Simple, white reflects all colors in all different directions, in a process known as a Diffuse Reflection, whereas mirrors reflect colors straight back in the direction its facing as a concentrated source, which is known as a Specular Reflection. This allows us to see the object as it is before the reflection.
For example, if you hold up a blue square with a letter ‘B’ on it in front of a white background it won’t reflect anything visible but if you hold that very same blue square in front of a mirror you’ll see nothing less than the exact square with the letter ‘B’ in reverse being reflected back.
So there we have it, a question you didn’t even know you wanted to ask has finally been answered, all those long drawn minutes being unable to concentrate are finally banished. The humble mirror is nothing more than a greenish block of soda-lime with a shiny back. One thing is true though, I really want to go to Grenada and see this mirror tunnel for myself…