Program of Color Science/Munsell Color Science Laboratory

Overview

color version of RIT Sentinel sculptureThe Munsell Color Science Laboratory and the Program of Color Science unite to form one of the world‘s foremost color science research and education organizations. Our mission is to provide world-class education, research, and outreach in all areas of color science including:

  • Physical spectral and colorimetric measurements of materials and light sources.
  • Understanding the capture, processing, and display of color and spectral power distributions.
  • Quantifying the human sensation of color matches and the higher-level perceptions of color appearance and chromatic adaptation.

These areas, and others, are studies from the perspectives of both fundamental scientific disciplines such as physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and psychology and application areas including:

  • Imaging Science
  • Motion Picture Science
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Graphics
  • Museum and Conservation Science
  • Sustainability

Follow us on Instagram @rit_pocs_mcsl

History of the Munsell Color Lab

The Munsell Color Company was founded by Professor Albert H. Munsell, the creator of the Munsell Color Order System and the Munsell Book of Color. The directors of the Munsell Color Company eventually sold the company's assets and created the Munsell Color Foundation. The Foundation was charged with furthering the scientific and practical advancement of color knowledge.

In 1983, the Foundation trustees voted to dissolve the foundation, and donate the proceeds to an academic institution for the creation and endowment of the Munsell Color Science Laboratory. RIT was selected as the recipient of this donation, and MCSL was born. (Note: There is no formal relationship between the RIT Munsell Color Science Laboratory and the commercial Munsell Color products sold by X-Rite.)

The creation of MCSL was in large part due to the efforts of Franc Grum, the first MCSL Director (currently Prof. Mark Fairchild) and R.S. Hunter Professor of Color Science, Appearance, and Technology (currently Prof. Roy Berns). Prior to founding MCSL and RIT’s Department of Color Science, Professor Grum was a member of the Munsell Color Foundation, long-standing friend of RIT as an employee of the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories, and an Adjunct Professor in the Photographic Science Department.

Initially, MCSL and the Color Science Department were part or RIT's College of Graphics Arts and Photography. RIT later created the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, and MCSL became a research laboratory within that Center, currently housed in RIT's College of Science. In 1989, MCSL and the Center for Imaging Science moved to a new facility with approximately 6,500 square feet of space dedicated to color science research and education.

In the spring of 2003, space opened up in a nearby building. After extensive renovations, MCSL and the Color Science program moved into what is now formally called the Color Science Hall. The collocation of all our offices and laboratory space has fostered an amazing collaborative spirit in what was already an exciting, cooperative organization.

After careful strategic review of color science at RIT, the Program of Color Science (PoCS) and Munsell Color Science Laboratory (MCSL) were more closely joined as a stand-alone multidisciplinary graduate program in the College of Science. This new chapter in the storied history of these programs began in 2013, 30 years after the lab’s founding, with an aim of further extending the reach of color science across more scientific disciplines and into even more application areas.

"Nulli Secundus"

The Franc Grum Memorial Scholarship was established after his untimely death in 1985. It is intended to support scholarship in optical radiation measurements and color science. The funds for this award were made possible by gifts from the friends and family of Franc, as well as from industry. The scholarship is no longer presented as a separate award to individuals, but rather used to fund tuition for Color Science students in need.

Year Recipient Current Employer
1988 Mark E. Gorzynski Hewlett-Packard
1990 Michael Stokes Microsoft
1992 Audrey Lester Xerox
1994 Richard L. Alfvin Eastman Kodak
1997 Garrett M. Johnson Apple
2000 Mark Q. Shaw Hewlett-Packard
2001 Scot R. Fernandez Hallmark
2004 Justin L. Laird Gunlocke
2008 Erin Fredericks ITT

Albert H. Munsell

Albert MunsellProfessor Munsell was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 6th, 1858 and died June 28th, 1918 at age 60. Author of A Color Notation (1905) and the Atlas of the Munsell Color System (1915). Both an artist of distinction and a gifted teacher of art, he developed the first widely-accepted color order system to make the description of color accurate and convenient and to aid in the teaching of color. The Munsell color order system has gained international acceptance and has served as the foundation for other color order systems.

Albert Munsell founded the Munsell Color Company in 1917. Later, in 1942, the Munsell Color Foundation was formed by the company to promote the advancement of the science of color. Ultimately, the Munsell Color Foundation led to the founding of this laboratory, the Munsell Color Science Laboratory, in 1983, at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

About the Portrait

Unfortunately, no high-quality photo of Professor Munsell is available. In 1998, Munsell graduate student Doug Corbin restored the photo from Munsell's book, A Color Notation. The details of the procedure appeared in the February 1999 issue of Color Research and Application. Doug has provided the following information pertaining to this restoration:

The full text of the CR&A submission can be found here.
The LARGE uncorrected image can be found here. (21MB TIFF file)
The scientific diaries of Albert Munsell are available here.

For some other insights into the work of Professor Munsell, here is a self-published work form 1907 entitled, "Color and an Eye to Discern it." This was provided by Rolf Kuehni, who originally retrieved it from The Hagley Museum and Library.

 

Graduate Programs

The Master of Science and Ph.D. color science programs explore all aspects of color, from lighting, through material properties, to human perception. The program is closely associated with the Munsell Color Science Laboratory, which is considered one of the world’s top research facilities in the science of color.

Understand how humans perceive and interact with color in this unique program that has limitless applications.

Learn More about Color Science MS 

Color has been an intense topic of interest for thousands of years. Mathematicians, philosophers, physicists, physiologists, poets, and other disciplines have all contributed to our understanding of color. RIT’s color science Ph.D. program allows you to contribute to knowledge creation and practical application of color science. You will conduct extensive research that encompasses diverse fields and multiple disciplines of science. The program is designed for students whose undergraduate degrees are in physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, engineering, neuroscience, experimental psychology, imaging, or any applied discipline pertaining to the quantitative description of color.

Learn More about Color Science Ph.D. 

Resources

The Munsell Color Science Laboratory has a long history of supporting the greater color science community through dissemination of our research. This includes publications, software, imaging databases, measurements, and more. At a fundamental level, these pages represent much of what we've done over the last 35+ years of research activities.

PoCS/MCSL Faculty

Roy Berns
Richard S Hunter Professor
585-475-2230
Mark Fairchild
Head of the Integrated Sciences Academy
585-475-2784
Susan Farnand
Assistant Professor
585-475-4567
Michael Murdoch
Assistant Professor
585-475-4134
Elena Fedorovskaya
Research Faculty
585-475-6952

PoCS/MCSL Staff

Val Hemink
Senior Staff Specialist
585-475-7189
David Wyble
Associate Scientist
585-475-7310

Students

Anku
Ph.D. student

Ben Bodner
M.S. student

Katherine Carpenter
Ph.D. student

Dara Dimoff
Ph.D. student

Tucker Downs
Ph.D. student

Luke Hellwig
Ph.D. student

Leah Humenuck
Ph.D. student

Fu Jiang
Ph.D. student

Olivia Kuzio
Ph.D student

Jenibel Paray
Ph.D. student

Yongmin Park
Ph.D. student

Adi Robinson
Ph.D. student

Matthew Ronnenberg
Ph.D. student

Che Shen
Ph.D. student

Gaurav Sheth
M.S. student

Hao Xie
Ph.D. student

Yue Yuan
Ph.D. student

Lili Zhang
Ph.D. student

2019
Nargess Hassani, PhD, CS

2017
Brittany Cox, PhD, CS
Morteza Maali Amiri, MS, CS
Christopher Thorstenson, MS, CS

2016
Yixuan Wang, MS, CS
Joel Witwer, MS, CS

2015
Yuta Asano, PhD, CS
Maxim W. Derhak, PhD, CS
Jennifer Kruschwitz, PhD, CS
David L. Long, PhD, CS

2014
Farhad Moghareh Abed, PhD, CS
Stephan Dolph, MS, IS
Adrià Forés Herranz, PhD, CS

2013
Justin Ashbaugh, MS, CS
Lin Chen, MS, CS
Benjamin Darling, PhD, CS
Susan Farnand, PhD, CS
Jun (Chris) Jiang, PhD, CS

2012
Ping-Hsu (Jones) Chen, MS, CS
Simon Muehlemann, MS, PM

2011
Anthony Blatner, MS, CE
Brian Gamm, MS, CS
John Grim, MS, CS
Marissa Haddock, MS, CS
Dan Zhang, MS, CS

2010
Bingxin Hou, MS, IS
Suparna Kalghatgi, MS, IE

2009
Erin Fredericks, MS, IS
Rodney Heckaman, PhD, IS
Mahnaz Mohammadi, PhD, IS
Shizhe Shen, MS, CS

2008
Stacey Casella, MS, CS
Ying Chen, MS, CS
Mahdi Nezamabadi, PhD, IS
Abhijit Sarkar, MS, CS
Yang Xue, MS, IS
Hongqin (Cathy) Zhang, PhD, IS
Yonghui (Iris) Zhao, PhD, IS

2007
Kenneth Fleisher, MS, CS
Jiangtao (Willy) Kuang, PhD, IS

2006
Yongda Chen, PhD, IS
Timothy Hattenberger, MS, IS
Zhaojian (Li) Li, MS, CS
Joseph Stellbrink, MS, CS

2005
Maxim Derhak, MS, IS
Randall Guay, MS, IS
Jim Hewitt, MS, IS
Justin Laird, MS, CS
Joseph Slomka, MS, CS
Erin Murphy Smoyer, MS, CS
Yoshio Okumura, MS, CS
Michael Surgeary, MS, IS

2004
Rohit Patil, MS, CS
Sung Ho Park, MS, CS
Xiaoyan (Yan) Song, MS, CS

2003
D. Collin Day, MS, CS
Ellen Day, MS, CS
Scot Fernandez, MS, IS
Edward Hattenberger, MS, CS
Steve Jacob, MS, IS
Xiaoyun (Willie) Jiang, PhD, IS
Garrett Johnson, PhD, IS
David Robinson, MS, IS
Mitchell Rosen, PhD, IS
Deniz Schildkraut, MS, CS
Qun (Sam) Sun, PhD, IS

2002
Arturo Aguirre, MS, CS
Jason Babcock, MS, CS
Anthony Calabria, MS, CS
Jen Cerniglia Stanek, MS, IS
Scot Fernandez, MS, CS
Jason Gibson, MS, CS
Shuxue Quan, PhD, IS
Yat-ming Wong, MS, IS

2001
Alexei Krasnoselsky, MS, CS
Sun Ju Park, MS, CS
Michael Sanchez, MS, IS
Lawrence Taplin, MS, CS
Barbara Ulreich, MS, IS

2000
Sergio Gonzalez, MS, CS
Sharon Henley, MS, CS
Patrick Igoe, MS, IS
Susan Lubecki, MS, CS
Richard Suorsa, MS, CS

1999
Gus Braun, PhD, IS
Barbara Grady, MS, CS
Katherine Loj, MS, CS
Jonathan Phillips, MS, CS
Mark Reiman, MS, CS
Mark Shaw, MS, CS
Di-Yuan Tzeng, PhD, IS
Joan Zanghi, MS, CS

1998
Scott Bennett, MS, CS
Fritz Ebner, PhD, IS
Garrett Johsnon, MS, CS
Naoya Katoh, MS, CS
David Wyble, MS, CS

1997
Peter Burns, PhD, IS
Christopher Hauf, MS, CS
Brian Hawkins, MS, CS
Jack Rahill, MS, IS
Alex Vaysman, MS, IS

1996
Karen Braun, PhD, IS
Cathy Daniels, MS, CS
Yue Qiao, MS, IS
Hae Kyung Shin, MS, IS

1995
Richard Alfvin, MS, CS
Seth Ansell, MS, CS
Susan Farnand, MS, IS

1994
Taek Kim, MS, IS
Audrey Lester, MS, CS
Jason Peterson, MS, IS
Debra Seitz Vent, MS, IS
James Shyu, MS, CS

1993
Nathan Moroney, MS, CS
Elizabeth Pirrotta, MS, CS
Mitchell Rosen, MS, IS

1992
Mark Gorzynski, MS, IS
Rich Riffel, MS, IS
Brian Rose, MS, CS

1991
Yan Liu, MS, CS
Ricardo Motta, MS, IS
Amy North, MS, CS
Greg Snyder, MS, IS
Michael Stokes, MS, CS

1989
Mitch Miller, MS, IS
Kelvin Peterson, MS, IS
Lisa Reniff, MS, CS

1987
Denis Daoust, MS, IS
Wayne Farrell, MS, IS

1986
Mark Fairchild, MS, IS

Board

Ellen Carter
Color Research and Application
Scot Fernandez
Hallmark
Francisco Imai
Apple
Tom Lianza
Sequel Color Science
Ricardo Motta
Apple
M. Ronnier Luo
U. Leeds, Zhejiang U., Nat. Taiwan U. of Science & Technology