In the mystic and the unforgiving realm of numbers there exists a number which is known by many but understood by few. Its name might suggest that its very popular among the people of vanity, but the truth couldn’t be more far away from it. For some it’s a holy grail to sell cars, for some it’s an obsession of endless pursuit and for some it reminds them of their favorite dessert.

Without further ado let me reveal to you what I am talking about. I am of course talking about the famous Golden ratio or also called the Phi.The golden ratio is simply put is the ratio of sum of two numbers to the larger of the two numbers. So, if someone takes the pain of calculating this number they would end up with an irrational number equaling to approximately 1.61803.

Now if we look at the very famous Fibonacci series, where every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding ones. The ratio of the consecutive numbers in series approach the golden ratio as the series grows. So, the length of our fingers, each section from the tip of the base to the wrist is larger than the preceding one by some ratio, no points for guessing by how much, yes, it’s the golden ratio. If someone measured the length from our navel to the floor and the top of the head to the navel and divide one by the other we would get the Golden ratio. A DNA molecule measures 34 angstroms by 21 angstroms at each full cycle of the double helix spiral. In the Fibonacci series, 34 and 21 are successive numbers. Now these are a few examples of the golden ratio occurring in nature.

If you do a bit of digging you would find a whole lot more of such examples. Now why is this number so special that someone would actually go ahead and write a blog, when there are hundreds out there already?Because for someone who’s been more obsessed with the number than anyone I know, I believe that the number is not so special. Wait, WHAT! Yes, you read it right, I don’t think that Mr Phi is special. Before Leo (No not Dicaprio, but Da Vinci) raises from his coffin (god forbid, may his soul rest in peace) screaming at me, I would like to defend my statement. Now the claim (which I made earlier) that some measurements of humans and animals would yield golden ratio is not really true as there is too much variations to legitimately pick one number to represent the claim.

The nautilus shell, the construction of which proceeds in a logarithmic spiral, is often cited as an example of golden ratio, but measurements of nautilus shells do not support this claim. And if someone takes a closer look at all examples given for the golden ratio, we see that most of them don’t hold water. Then is the golden ratio just a vanity? I believe that the human nature as such that we will believe in fiction. And this nature of believing in fiction or lies has made us the most intelligent species. I am pretty sure you are left with more questions than when you started to read this blog, to find more answers wait for my next blog in which I will tell you that our evolution is what makes us believe in such myths.

-Rishyashringa J. S., Project Leader, BRAINSTARS

Image Courtesy-

http://thepatronsaintofarchitecture.com/2010/09/30/biophilic-design-distraction/