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


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 all of 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 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.

Research Teaching & Learning: I am, once again, serving, as Director of the Munsell Color Science Laboratory while still focusing on research and educational initiatives through my role as Associate Dean through various College of Science programs. Yuta Asano, a Color Science Ph.D. student, is working on the measurement and modeling of individual differences in color vision through a collaboration with Technicolor Research in Rennes, France. Rod Heckaman is a Post-Doc researching the novel definitions of color appearance scales and Monte Carlo modeling of observer variability. Susan Farnand is a Color Science Ph.D. student finishing up her dissertation work on the importance of image content in the precision and accuracy of image quality psychophysics. David Long is also part-time Color Science Ph.D. student doing his dissertation research on the value of spectral imaging in digital cinema applications. Alex Pagliaro is a Color Science M.S. student on a quest to find stimuli that represent extreme examples of observer metamerism (e.g. people argue over the basic color name) before he heads off to his new job at Apple. doing her senior research project with me on saturation scaling. Maggie Castle is an Imaging Science B.S. student doing her senior research project with me on saturation scaling. I recently completed the Color Curiosity Shop and the 3rd edition of Color Appearance Models; please check them out. In my "spare" time, I enjoy playing the occasional round of golf, driving fast cars and motorcycles, paddling canoes, climbing mountains, making images, and raising my daughters, a puppy, two cats, a turtle and countless shubunkins. Please explore my website to learn more about my various exploits. You can also download a PDF of my CV if you find yourself that intrigued.

Classroom Teaching & Learning: In recent years, I have taught four courses: Color Appearance, an online-learning section of Color Reproduction, Color Science Seminar, and an undergraduate Color Science course. Due to my other duties, I am currently only teaching Color Appearance and Color Science Seminar. Color Appearance, offered in the Winter quarter, covers the basic phenomena, theory, and modeling of color appearance (i.e., things that basic colorimetry cannot predict) and is also a required course in the Color Science graduate programs. Color Reproduction was an online-learning course delivered over the internet during alternate Winter quarters. The content of the course essentially mirrored R.W.G. Hunt's classic text, The Reproduction of Colour. Color Science Seminar, offered all three quarters as a sequence, and a required course in the Color Science graduate program, introduces students to the critical review of research papers and presentations while developing their own research skills. The undergraduate Color Science course (offered Fall quarter) is part of the Imaging Science and Motion Picture Science B.S. programs and also offered as an elective for students in other programs such as Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering, etc. It covers the fundamental principles of color science, technology, and imaging. Currently, I teach Color Appearance and one quarter of Color Science Seminar to allow time for my work as Associate Dean of the College of Science. I am very excited as RIT plans its transition to a semester-based calendar system starting in the FALL SEMESTER(!!) 2013 and pondering a new courses on color science and sensory ecology that might be offered after that time.


The Peanut Butter & Jelly Solution
Dealing in Doubt: A report summarizing how attacks on science and public perception are funded.

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

Young Mark Older Mark Older 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

Zen Taoism: A philosophy and system of religion based on the teachings of Lao-tzu in the sixth century B.C.E. It advocates preserving and restoring the Tao in the body and the cosmos through enlightenment attained by meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition.

Tao: The basic, eternal principle of the universe that transcends reality and is the source of being, non-being, and change.

Principles: Wordlessness : Selflessness : Softness : Oneness : Emptiness : Nothingness : Balance : Paradox : Non-Doing : Spontaneity : Ordinariness : Playfulness : Suchness