12th Jul 2012

The Mathematics of Beauty

The Fibonacci Sequence is a sequence of numbers where each number is the sum of the previous two—i.e., 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34…and so on to infinity. The ratio of one number to the next is approximately 1.61803, which is called “phi”, or the Golden Ratio. It’s not a magical mathematical equation of the universe, but it definitely reflects natural, aesthetically beautiful patterns. The ratio been used as the ideal proportion standard by artists and architects throughout history, and it’s also found in nature because it’s one of the most efficient way to pack things together. The human body can mostly be divided up in terms of the golden ratio, with one nose, two eyes, three segments to each limb, five fingers on each hand, and our measurements and proportions also reflect the ratio, especially the proportions of the human face—the width of the nose, position of the eyes, length of the chin. Our attraction to another person increases if their body and features are symmetrical and proportional, since we perceive them to be healthier, and so the Golden Ratio appears to be connected with humans ideals of beauty. It’s worth noting, however, that although the ratio can create a beautiful face, it can’t create a beautiful mind.

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    This is what Tom Stoppard means in “Arcadia”. I love it.
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