The rainbow connection

Associate Professor of Physics Kerstin Nordstrom talked about rainbows with NPR and debunked some myths.

By Christian Feuerstein

As days are short and nights are long and dark this winter, many are thinking of brighter days ahead. So National Public Radio decided to air a short feature on rainbows. 

As part of its “Short Wave” podcast, which examines “new discoveries, everyday mysteries and the science behind the headlines,” NPR decided to tackle topics listeners never really learned in school. 

Its most recent episode, “Short Wave” called upon Kerstin Nordstrom, associate professor of physics, to discuss rainbows.

Immediately, producer Thomas Lu said, “Kerstin blew my mind.” 

“One of the fun facts about rainbows is that they are a consequence of observation,” Nordstrom said. “They’re not physical objects that exist in the sky.” 

Listen to the episode

Related News

Nancy Welker smiling into the camera, wearing a blazer, a turtleneck and a large green necklace

Nancy Welker ’63 on her 55 years in physics

Nancy Welker ’63 credits her pioneering success in a male-dominated science field to her time studying at Mount Holyoke College.  

M. Darby Dyar looking into the camera and speaking with a VERITAS polo shirt on


NASA has selected new missions to explore Venus, including one led by M. Darby Dyar, Mount Holyoke professor of astronomy. 

Benjamin Gebre-Medhin

Toward more equitable admissions

Mount Holyoke professor’s research finds that college admissions essays are even more strongly linked to socioeconomic status than test scores.

Kuzivakwashe Madungwe

Meet the class of 2021: Kuzivakwashe Madungwe

 “Playing squash challenged me to push myself beyond what I thought I could achieve as an athlete. The whole student-athlete experience has been amazing.” 

James Harold

The ethics of vaccine passports

Professor James Harold of Mount Holyoke’s philosophy department spoke to Western Mass News about the ethics of vaccine passports. 

Find more stories >