Donate to the Igs

On Light from Pickles, and Pickle on Light

Two papers for your consideration, with the opportunity to find relationships between them:

Light from Pickles (and Other Sources)

Characterization of Organic Illumination Systems,” Bill Hamburgen, Jeff Mogul, Brian Reid, Alan Eustace, Richard Swan, Mary Jo Doherty, and Joel Bartlett, Western Digital Laboratory Technical Note TN-13, April 1, 1989. (Thanks to Richard Holstein for bringing this to our attention.). The authors begin:

“There has been a great deal of interest of late in triboluminescence and electroluminescence in organic materials. Triboluminescence in wintergreen Life Savers has been investigated by many over the years, while electroluminescence in organic thin films is an active area of current research both here and abroad. In early December 1988, our attention was called to work by Bill Bidermann on electroluminescence in pickles. It was reported that inserting iron electrodes into a dill pickle and energizing with modest alternating currents caused the pickle to glow. Subsequent reports reached us in January 1989 regarding corroborating experiments. We decided to investigate the phenomenon with the aim of improving our understanding of the underlying mechanisms and examining the potential for commercial applications.”

Pickle (and Others) on Light

ABC’s of DEW (ADI) Software“, John Pickle, Jacqueline Kirtley, and Alan Gould, STEM Digital, vol. 20, 2009. The authors begin:

“Many of us were taught at a young age that the primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. Our early experiences with color mixing were blending together paints where yellow and blue make green and the three colors stirred together make colors ranging from brown, gray, or black. From this we have two errors in our understanding of color. First, primary colors can be mixed together to create all other colors. Second, that red, yellow, and blue are the primary colors. When we talk about primary colors, we generally think about three colors which can be mixed together to create all of the colors of the rainbow. Have you ever tried to make black out of your red, yellow, and blue? Even more difficult—try to make fluorescent pink, silver, or gold. Primary colors cannot make all other colors, but they can make the most colors from the fewest starting resources.”


Improbable Research