A rainbow spans a continuous spectrum of colors; the distinct bands are an artifact of human color vision. In Roy G. Biv, the colors are arranged in the order of decreasing wavelengths, with red being 650 nm and violet being about 400 nm. The Roy G. Biv arrangement is memorable because Roy is a common male given name, forming the acronym into a first name, middle initial, and a last name.
Newton's color wheel that introduced indigo as a basic color. The uneven color division along the color circle correlates with the intervals of the musical major scale.
Newton's observation of prismatic colors. Comparing this to a color image of the visible light spectrum will show that Newton's "Indigo" corresponds to dark blue, while Newton's "Blue" corresponds to cyan. For more on this, see Indigo.
In Classical Antiquity, Aristotle claimed there was a fundamental scale of seven basic colors. In the Renaissance, several artists tried to establish a new sequence of up to seven primary colors from which all other colors could be mixed. In line with this artistic tradition, Newton divided his color circle, which he constructed to explain additive color mixing, into seven colors. His color sequence including the tertiary colorindigo is kept alive today by the Roy G. Biv mnemonic. Originally he used only five colors, but later he added orange and indigo, in order to match the number of musical notes in the major scale.
Another traditional mnemonic device has been to turn the initial letters of seven spectral colors into a sentence. In Britain the most common is "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain." The mnemonic is said to refer to the defeat and death of Richard, Duke of York at the Battle of Wakefield. In order to avoid reference to this defeat, people from Yorkshire developed the alternative "Rowntrees Of York Gave Best In Value." Alternatively, the biblically inspired "Read Out Your Good Book In Verse," or the more anarchic "Rinse Out Your Granny's Boots In Vinegar," may be used.
In popular culture
Fiction and Books
Roy G. Biv, a stereotypical hippie who taught about colors and optics was a recurring character in the children's television series Beakman's World, played by Paul Zaloom.
Roy G. Biv was a pseudonym for the evil mastermind behind the plot of the 2006-2007 episodic video game Sam & Max Save the World.
Roy-G-BIV was the name of an example character in the role-playing game Paranoia, a pun about the great importance of the seven colors in the game's gameplay.
Roy G. Bivolo is the real name of the supervillain Rainbow Raider, an enemy of the comics character the Flash, who uses spectral light as his powers
Roy G. Biv was a TV program which influenced one subgroup of Terrorists in the book The Big U
Roy G. Biv is a recurring character in the ongoing webcomic Monsterkind
"ROYGBIV" is quoted in the song "I'm Comin' " by rapper/actor Will Smith
The "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain" mnemonic appears in "Richard Of York", a song by Simon Bookish in his Unfair/Funfair (2006) album. The song also features a robotic voice saying the "Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet" color sequence.