In search of blue

Meet the blue crew, scientists trying to give food, flowers, and more a color rarely found in nature

The quest for blue pigments—whose complex chemistry makes them rare in nature and difficult to synthesize—dates back millennia. Most were discovered by accident or are merely synthetic versions of blues already found in nature. In 2009, a chemist stumbled on the first new inorganic blue pigment in 200 years. Today, other researchers are continuing that quest by methodically using physics, chemistry, and genetics to create new blues to dazzle us with.

A small piece of ringwoodite produced in David Dobson’s lab. Dobson hopes to produce a new blue pigment that has a similar structure but is more stable. DAVID DOBSON