Math Can be a Thing of Beauty: The Elegance Behind the Fibonacci Sequence

Math Can be a Thing of Beauty: The Elegance Behind the Fibonacci Sequence December 30, 2015

Golden ratio
(Photo credit: itspaulkelly)

What makes something beautiful?

The human eye is drawn to objects perfectly proportioned. Think of the spiral of a sea shell or the Egyptian pyramids. Certain faces on people seem to have the perfect dimensions. Some designs seem so perfect. And why are some faces so perfect?

Interestingly, beauty can actually be mathematically equated to 1:1.6. This ratio is calculated by using a series of numbers called the Fibonacci sequence, or the Golden Ratio. 

It’s sequence looks like this: 1,2,3,5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377.

(Stay with me here) Each number is calculated by adding the previous two numbers. 3+5 = 8. 5+8 = 13 and so on. Take each number, and divide it by the previous number and you get 1.618, or PHI ( φ).

The human eye is drawn to objects perfectly proportioned. Think of the spiral of a sea shell or the Egyptian pyramids. Certain faces on people seem to have the perfect dimensions. Some designs seem so perfect. And why are some faces so perfect?

Known as the Fibonacci number or sequence, it’s a fascinating look at a world that is not full of chaos…but wonder.

Beauty has a number

It’s a common mathematical principle, appearing extensively in geometric forms.
You see this Golden Ratio appear in many of the things that please our eyes.
Here is how it looks in nature:
A pineapple has three arms of 5, 8, and 13
The head of a daisy has two spirals that extend from the center. One has 21, while the other has 34
Look at the human body. One nose, two eyes, three segments to each limb and five fingers on each hand. It’s a pattern of beauty.
Even the DNA molecule is proportionately beautiful, measuring 21 x 34

The Golden Ratio is used extensively in many things and is the guide for the perception of beauty.  Throughout time, people have sought to use the Golden Ratio in a variety of things like musicdesignartarchitecture and poetry.

Even the famous Mona Lisa’s face is perfectly proportionate according to the ratio. In architecture, the Notre Dame Castle, The United Nations Building, the Taj Mahal and the Parthenon all share the Golden Ratio. Donald Duck and Apple have relied on it’s form.

It’s in every day items, like the size of a postcard or the placement of a knob on a door.
We are somehow, intrinsically drawn to such beautiful things. Even body shapes and faces in this proportion are deemed more beautiful and desirable.
This no accident. Evolution doesn’t repeat this pattern all on it’s own. God created beauty and he created us to appreciate beauty.  In this huge world, full of variables and uncertainty, there’s an order. There’s a divine elegance that flows throughout our world.
 
No wonder we are amazed. 
Just when I have it all figured, God finds a way to inject Grace. He created all of this beauty for me, but then He gravitates toward the things that are different. What I call beautiful, he disregards.  He is close to the brokenhearted and saves those that are crushed. The things that are disproportionate, broken and displeasing to the eye are most close His heart.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11
 I am speechless, unable to fathom it all. 
William Blake wrote, Tyger, tyger, burning bright / In the forests of the night, / What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Photo by D. Rupert
Photo by D. Rupert
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