The Twisted Color Wheel

Colors are curious. Physics tells us that, like sound, they are just waves. But while we can hear sound waves of wave lengths between 17mm and 17m, the wave lengths of visible light range between 390 and 700 nm. That’s sad. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could see colors resonate by being able to see both red (700nm) and ultraviolet (350 nm). Of course matters are more complicated because we perceive colors differently, using three specific color sensors. Imagine being only able to hear three different sound frequencies.


A side effect of our biological limitation is that a color wheel makes sense to us, i.e. a continuous arrangement of the colors around a circle so that antipodal points represent complementary colors. This gave me the idea that one could color a Möbius strip continuously by hue so that points in the “front” and “back” are colored by complementary colors. Here is a 7-fold twisted rectangle as a ruled surface,


and here a minimal surface version based on a torus knot:


Finally, a Klein bottle, the immersion being obtained by rotating and revolving a figure 8 curve: