Educational

Mathematics and the proof of all that’s beautiful

Beauty lies in the eyes of the numbers!

Beauty is about perception – hence the “beholder”. It is true – and there is no denial of that fact. However, one might ask a question regarding this. Why is it true again?

To answer this, therefore, let’s first observe some things and decide for ourselves if it is beautiful or not.

Finding Beauty: Looking at some examples

Before anything else let us begin with some examples of beautiful things. Nature itself is a beautiful place, right? Do you know what else is beautiful? Humans. And not just their face, their hands and arms and feet, and their very height add up to the looks of beauty.

From the arrangement of seeds inside a sunflower to the number of petals it has; from the shapes created by the shells found near the sea beaches to the largest structures in the universe – galaxies. Math exists everywhere around us!

Let’s do the math now: The Golden Ratio

The definition of beauty is two-fold. The first one is a series while the second is of course a formula – sort of. People often tend to restrict mathematics within the frames of equations and calculations. But this very aspect proves that it is so much more than that.

The concept is that any two quantities – joined together in some manner – are in a golden ratio if the measure of their total divided by the larger quantity is the same as the ratio between them. And the series which reflects this thought is called the Fibonacci series. It goes like this: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55…

Prove it: Some fun activities to observe this

While the strict mathematical proof requires some rigor and a fairly good knowledge of math, there are a lot of other things you can try to see for yourself how the universe gets beautiful. Measure the length of your arm (as accurately as possible) from the tip of your middle finger to the joint of the shoulder. Then measure the length from the tip of your middle finger to your elbow joint. Now divide the first length by the second.

You should get a number very close to the golden ratio which is denoted by the Greek letter ‘phi’ and is of the value: 1.618034…

It doesn’t just end there. You can do the same with your height divided by the height up to your belly button. Depending upon your accuracy, the answer should come pretty close to 1.6 or 1.5.

So next time you click a picture, hear a song or make a sculpture, remember what lurks in all things is beautiful – math!

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