Mark Fairchild


Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Education, College of Science

Professor & Director, Program of Color Science/Munsell Color Science Laboratory

Rochester Institute of Technology

M.A./Ph.D., Vision Science (Human Sensation & Perception)

University of Rochester, 1990

B.S./M.S., Imaging Science (née Photographic Science & Instrumentation)

Rochester Institute of Technology, 1986

"The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small." ~Lao Tzu
ďNo great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.Ē ~Aristotle
"Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points." ~D.T. Suzuki
"And Iím goiní to keep this speech very short, for Iím sayiní my farewell to the game. Iíve suffered enough with it." ~Peter McNaughton

Listen to Mark discuss color perception on NPR.
For my students, click here (PDF) to see how you are academically linked to Helmholtz and others.

The Handbook of Color Psychology, co-edited with Andrew Elliot and Anna Franklin, has been recently published. Please check it out.

As Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Education of RIT's College of Science, my role is to facilitate the growth and strengthening of the college's research activities and graduate programs. As Professor & Director of the Program of Color Science and Munsell Color Science Laboratory, I coordinate the educational activities of the graduate programs in Color Science at RIT and the research and outreach activities of the Munsell Color Science Laboratory while participating in the teaching and research activities described below. I've been spending a lot of time recently developing a new academic unit at RIT, the Integrated Sciences Academy. Stay tuned for updates.

Color Perception: Our research on topics in color perception addresses several inter-related areas such as color-appearance modeling,image appearance, image preference, color measurement, high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging, chromatic adaptation, and observer metamerism. One focus of this research has been the ongoing development and psychophysical testing of color and image appearance models for both a fundamental understanding of perception and for a variety of applications such as image/video quality and HDR rendering. Our work on fundamental aspects of color science is aimed at building a better understanding of individual differences in color perception to both develop improved perceptual experiences and promote energy-saving technologies such as solid-state lighting and efficient image displays. More recent interests also include the perceptual experiences of other species and our ecological impact upon them, an area sometimes referred to as sensory ecology. My "on-the-side" research focusses on the colorimetric measurement, and sensory evaluation, of wine, especially from our wonderful Finger Lakes AVA of New York state.

Some fairly recent projects include the Color Curiosity Shop, the 3rd edition of Color Appearance Models, and helping with the Handbook of Color Pychology; please check them out. You can also download a PDF of my CV if you find yourself that intrigued.

Classroom Teaching & Learning: I am currently teaching Modeling Visual Perception. Modeling Visual Perception, offered in the Spring semester,covers the basic phenomena, theory, and modeling of color and visual appearance (i.e., things that basic colorimetry cannot predict) and is also a required course in the Color Science graduate programs.


There is No Ultraviolet, or Infrared, Light;

The Technical Definition of Light...
17-659 light
1. characteristic of all sensations and perceptions that is specific to vision
2. radiation that is considered from the point of view of its ability to excite the human visual system

On the instant of waking
Another world of dreams appears - N. Peart

Ye're makin' a great mistake if ye think the gemme is meant for the shots.
The gemme is meant for walkin'.
For if ye can enjoy the walkin' ye can probably enjoy the other times in yer life when ye're in between.
And that's most o' the time; wouldn't ye say? - S. Irons

~1986 ... ~2003 ... ~2008 ...

Young MarkOlder MarkOlder Mark

Well you're in your little room
and you're working on something good
but if it's really good
you're gonna need a bigger room
and when you're in the bigger room
you might not know what to do
you might have to think of
how you got started
sitting in your little room
The White Stripes