Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Golden Ratio

This is a link to a PowerPoint presentation about the Golden Ratio, Golden Rectangles and the Golden Spiral in math, nature, science and art. The mystery of phi and the associated mathematical sequence of the Fibonacci numbers are so powerful as to have led our ancient ancestors to call it Divine. It certainly seems to be the underlying order to the apparent chaos of nature. I gave this lecture to the North Tampa Arts League on September 24, 2014. Several years earlier I wrote an article about it for my art and photography students which you can read here Since then I did a great deal of new research and found a wealth of information and really good websites on the subject, as well as obtaining the DVD lectures from The Great Courses The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas. Some of the new information is quite interesting, and different from my earlier article, where the Chambered Nautilus Shells is the famous emblem of the Golden Spiral and the Fibonacci numbers in nature, turns out not to be a Golden Spiral after all, but a kind of inverted one instead. 

Do not be alarmed by the math aspect of all this. I have a famous history of being totally mathematically challenged, from first grade when we were asked to look at our booklets in which there were cartoon illustrations of math problems. "There are three monkeys in a tree. One fell out, so how many are left?" My hand went up. "What happened to the monkey?" I asked my not amused teacher. And from that point on my association with mathematics went south! But I do have a kind of morbid fascination with all this, although I can't understand the equations that solve the riddle of Phi, but I can appreciate the wonder of it all without knowing a scrap of algebra! 

And, as an artist, I can certainly understand how the power of the Golden Rectangle has been used in art, industrial design, and architecture through the centuries. I certainly understand how the Golden Rectangle is featured in my own artwork!

Incidentally, if you do go to to look at the slides you need to advance them manually and it is a bit difficult to see how to do this if you are in full screen view. Put your mouse in the lower right corner and a little arrow appears. Click and you go to the next slide.

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