Mark Fairchild


This is an archived site that has not been updated since 9/1/2019. It could disappear at any time. For Mark's current site, please see

Rochester Institute of Technology, College of Science

Founding Head, Integrated Sciences Academy

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

Rochester Institute of Technology

B.S./M.S., Imaging Science (née Photographic Science & Instrumentation), RIT, 1986

M.A./Ph.D., Vision Science (Human Sensation & Perception), UR, 1990

"The biggest problem in the world could have been solved when it was small." ~Lao Tzu
"No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness." ~Aristotle
"Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points." ~D.T. Suzuki
"And I'm goin' to keep this speech very short, for I'm sayin' my farewell to the game. I've suffered enough with it." ~Peter McNaughton

Zen Tao Color: Mark's personal transition to retirement and beyond blog. Read if you're curious.
PoCS/MCSL Instagram: Maintained by Mark. @rit_pocs_mcsl
Ever wonder why RIT Orange can only be reproduced on HDR-WCG displays? Check out the specs.
Listen to Mark discuss color perception on NPR.
For my students, click here (PDF) to see how your academic lineage to Helmholtz and others.
The Handbook of Color Psychology, co-edited with Andrew Elliot and Anna Franklin, was recently published. Please check it out.

As Founding Head of the Integrated Sciences Academy in RIT's College of Science, my role is to facilitate the growth and strengthening of the college's multidisciplinary academic and research programs, Color Science amongst them. 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.

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 and the colorimetric measurement, and sensory evaluation, of wine, especially from our wonderful Finger Lakes AVA of New York state.

Some pet projects include the Color Curiosity Shop, the 3rd edition of Color Appearance Models, and helping with the Handbook of Color Psychology; 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.

I will also be helping out in a team taught color imaging course in the Spring. Contact:

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