Tamil Chemist Mas Subramanian Discovers New Shade of Blue


The color you see below is no ordinary hue.

It’s one of the world’s newest — and perhaps most vivid — shades of blue. It also happens to be the result of a brilliant mistake.

A team of chemists discovered YInMn blue during a chemistry experiment at Oregon State University in 2009. “It was serendipity, actually,“ said Mas Subramanian, the OSU chemist who led the experiment, in a press release. “A happy, accidental discovery.”

Now scientists have perfected the pigment and it’s going on sale as an option in commercial coatings, plastics and household paint this year.

It all started when Subramanian and his team were trying to find materials with magnetic properties that could be used in computer hard drives. The OSU chemists mixed manganese oxide, which is black in color, with a variety of chemicals. They then heated the mixture to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

After a failed test run, one of Subramanian’s graduate students removed the mixture from the furnace, only to find an impossibly blue powder.

“I expected [the resulting substance] to be brown or black,” Subramanian said in 2014. “But when I saw what he had, I knew this was something unusual.”

The chemists named the vibrantly pigmented powder YInMn blue after the chemical elements of which it is made: yttrium, indium and manganese, according to artnet News. They published their findings on the colorful discovery last year in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The pigment’s intense blue hue is a result of its unusual crystal structure, known to chemists as trigonal bipyramidal coordination. This structure allows the pigment’s manganese ions to absorb all red and green wavelengths of light, while reflecting back only blue wavelengths, according to an OSU press release.

And the spectacular color isn’t just a sight to behold.

Read the rest of this amazing story here.

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59 thoughts on “Tamil Chemist Mas Subramanian Discovers New Shade of Blue

  1. Thankfully Subramanian migrated to United States and not Canada. We would have made him a cab driver and given him a membership in a provincial party. #Canadianimmigration

  2. “and it has no toxic ingredients.”
    You must hire new editors.
    “… and it does not have any toxic ingredients”.

  3. Jonathan Walsh our buildings wouldn’t be as cool, didn’t you read the article?

  4. This seems to be an inaccurate description in the title. It is not a new shade of blue, it’s a blue pigment with a new, unique chemical composition.

  5. how in the world can you copyright a color?! thats crazy.. cmon.. color is natural. this article is BS

  6. I understand this was developed at a publicly funded school. I assume any money made from sales will go to school funding.

  7. Nonsense! There are no new shades of blue. Call it what it is- a new combination of chemicals. Don’t try to dupe us.

  8. What the hell is a tamil? And why is it on facebook, we Americans don’t give two shits about anything over in Timbucktwo!

  9. It’s not a new color, no different then indigo IMO just another shade of blue. You can’t just go into a lab and invent a new color

  10. This is stupid. No such thing as a “new” shade of blue. All the colors that ever were or ever are or ever will be are already here. The color that shows here on FB looks to me like cobalt blue but that is beside the point. It is just a matter of adding or subtracting the other primary colors. Sheesh. Have scientists nothing better to do than play with colors? My second graders do this every day!

  11. Your second grader comes up with new chemical compositions for pigments? A bright child, indeed!

  12. They should call the color Subramanian after the man who discovered it. It would be easier to say than YlnMn. And how do you even pronounce that anyway?

  13. Facebook gives you stories based on things you click and read on FB and your browser. Maybe you read about new discoveries or colors or science, and that’s what this is, so they thought you’d find that neat.

  14. James Knight So an algorhythm is what you are saying? HMMM I thought it was mostly random to be honest!

  15. What a waste of time….. This just took OSU off the nuclear energy ‘we’re doing big things for the world’ list and put it on the ‘stupid things we can waste time with’ list…

  16. that is a new Blue if they put it on a car since all blue cars now give off a red color but this will give off blue no matter the light

  17. I think they mean pigment composition?? Idk cos you hear news about certain food dyes being more toxic than others etc

  18. The average human can no longer tell the difference between the news and an ad.
    – South Park

  19. Ever seen the variety of blues in Sodalite? Play Doh had a similar shade, at one point, too. But…the chemical properties may be cool.

  20. Honestly, I am amazed how the haters come out for people, ideas, and now colors. Go away and complain about something that is in need of change. My posted sticker says how I feel about the color not the other posters

  21. what an ignorant statement with no understanding of the vast possibilities of the electromagnetic spectrum – glad my children don’t have this type of uneducated and narrow minded teacher

  22. The man may have invented a new pigment to create the color, but the color has always existed within the visible light spectrum. No one can “invent” or “discover”a color. There is no “new shade of blue”. You have to love it when “journalists”, that know absolutely nothing about science, display their ignorance. SMH

  23. “What the hell is Tamil?” What the hell is American and why do they always sound obnoxious and dumb?

  24. Hahahaha! I should just change my comment. America really needs smart people. The angry commentators, do this world a favour,don’t breed.

  25. Obviously this second grade teacher is too busy to read the whole article and has been stuck for along time in 2nd grade. .. science dear… & in between your play doh…take time to read…and yes I all ready know my statement is grammatically incorrect. .. grammar police.

  26. You went to school at Harvard, in America, and you don’t know what American is? And you have the balls to say “we” sound dumb? LOL Clown! Run along and go peddle some Chai tea, leave the internets to the grown folks!

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