Thursday, March 27, 2008

The golden ratio

A commentator on this blog yesterday was questioning the presence of poetry in science and made me think of the golden ratio: 1 plus the square root of 5 divided by 2 which works out at approximately 1.62. Pythagoras discovered this number when he was working on pentagons and the ratio of 1:1.62 was used by the architect of the Parthenon's facade and taken up again in the Renaissance by Leonardo da Vinci with his Vitruvian man and later by Le Corbusier, Dali and Mondrian who all believed the ratio could produce aesthetically pleasing proportions. It has widely been used in music as the ratio between notes, for example by Bach and Debussy. Alfred Zeising found it in plant stems and veins of leaves and wrote in 1854: "The Golden Ratio is a universal law in which is contained the ground-principle of all formative striving for beauty and completeness in the realms of both nature and art, and which permeates, as a paramount spiritual ideal, all structures, forms and proportions, whether cosmic or individual, organic or inorganic, acoustic or optical; which finds its fullest realization, however, in the human form."

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair point, Old Winch..

It is also fair comment that science alone will not answer some of life's more complex questions as it can determine what is feasible, but not always what is desirable.

But I do despair that sometimes people like 'Dr' Gillian McKeith, who has no real grounding in science, is able to bamboozle people who don't have the critical faculties to sort fact from fiction..

The real worry is that education now has little time for science, history and the study of language, even English. So guaranteeing a generation who will not be able to see when they are being hoodwinked by politicians.

11:48 am  
Blogger kinglear said...

Slightly tenuous connection between poetry and the Golden Ratio, but there is no doubt, to our vision, this ratio is a most pleasing one.
Unfortunately, it does not exist in modern housing estates.

1:13 pm  
Blogger kinglear said...

anon - you are so right. Our ancestors fought against simony nepotism and gerrymandering, but the ever-missing Broon has raised the subversion of the electorate to a whole new level.

11:12 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Morning! Yes it's depressing to think about the impact of dumbing down.

8:21 am  
Blogger marymaryquitecontrary said...

Wwhisperer You are just too clever. Reading this post and the comments made me feel "dumb." In fact the only time I feel dumber is when watching ,"University Challenge." I do know about Pythagoras and his theorem
however.

11:45 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Huh?? WW; I can do languages but no can do maths!

11:57 pm  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

I must bow to your superior knowledge too, most impressive, and maths is another language for me too.

7:32 pm  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Having read it again, I did enjoy it, the musical connection was really interesting.I also liked what Zeising said of the golden ratio.

7:35 pm  

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