The renowned mathematician Sir Isaac Newton invented the first colour wheel. While studying white light reflecting off prisms, he noticed that the light reflected a spectrum of colours.
Background on Colour Theory:
In the visual arts, colour theory is a body of practical guidance for colour mixing and the visual effects of a specific colour combination. There are also definitions (or categories) of colours based on the colour wheel: Primary colour, Secondary colour and Tertiary colour. Although colour theory principles first appeared in the writings of Leone Battista Alberti (c. 1435) and the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (c. 1490), a tradition of “colour theory” began in the 18th century, initially within a partisan controversy over Isaac Newton’s theory of colour (Opticks, 1704) and the nature of Primary colours. From there it developed as an independent artistic tradition with only superficial reference to colourimetry and vision science (Wikipedia).