Is golden ratio real?
The golden ratio, or the divine proportion as it is sometimes called, is a number that goes on forever. It starts off like this: 1.6180339… It is represented by the Greek letter phi ().
The questions about the golden ratio are: Does the golden ratio compel us to like certain types of beauty? Are the aesthetics that we are drawn to far from individual aesthetic understanding? The golden ratio has gained quite a bit of popularity in modern popular culture, too. It is the subject of a Turkish book trilogy (Fİ/Çİ/Pİ) that has been adapted into a TV series.
The famous author, Dan Brown, has also called into question the reality of the golden ratio in his books. To begin answering these questions, researchers have had to take a step back in time to the golden ratio’s beginnings. It is widely believed that the first written definition of the golden ratio was made by the Greek mathematician Euclid who referred to it as the “extreme and mean ratio.” His equation established the relationship for the calculation of the golden ratio: = a/b = (a + b)/a = 1.61803398875… in which a and b refer to the dimensions of two quantities, with a the larger of the two.
Alongside Euclid, researchers mention that when discussing the golden ratio, it is near impossible not to mention Fibonacci. The Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio are intimately linked. In the Fibonacci series, each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. As these numbers grow, the ratio between two consecutive numbers in the series converge to the golden ratio. The larger the numbers, the closer the ratio is to the golden ratio.
It was the astronomer Johannes Kepler who discovered the link between the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio. However, it was Martin Ohm who first coined the term “golden.” Then, in the 1900s, the American mathematician Mark Barr used the Greek letter phi () to designate this proportion. With all that said, because it is an irrational number, it’s impossible for any object from the real-world to fall into the golden ratio. It will always be a little off. The question arises: Is there a divine proportion in nature?
The short answer is no. But there is another form that cuts it close – the spiral. The spiral can be seen across nature and art, for instance in the shape of a nautilus shell or that of a galaxy. Ultimately, if a person chooses the golden ratio as their favorite design, it’s essentially their brain playing games on them.