The Golden ratio is a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part. It is often symbolized using phi, after the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet. In an equation form, it looks like this: a/b = (a+b)/a = 1.6180339887498948420 … As with pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter), the digits go on and on, theoretically into infinity. Phi is usually rounded off to 1.618. This number has been discovered and rediscovered many times, which is why it has so many names — the Golden mean, the Golden section, divine proportion, etc. Historically, the number can be seen in the architecture of many ancient creations, like the Great Pyramids and the Parthenon. In the Great Pyramid of Giza, the length of each side of the base is 756 feet with a height of 481 feet. The ratio of the base to the height is roughly 1.5717, which is close to the Golden ratio. The Pyramids of Giza, built between 2589 and 2504 BC. The Pyramids of Giza, built between 2589 and 2504 BC. Credit: Dan Breckwoldt Shutterstock Phidias (500 B.C.  432 B.C.) was a Greek sculptor and mathematician who is thought to have applied phi to the design of sculptures for the Parthenon. Plato (428 B.C.  347 B.C.) considered the Golden ratio to be the most universally binding of mathematical relationships. Later, Euclid (365 B.C.  300 B.C.) linked the Golden ratio to the construction of a pentagram. Around 1200, mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci discovered the unique properties of the Fibonacci sequence. This sequence ties directly into the Golden ratio because if you take any two successive Fibonacci numbers, their ratio is very close to the Golden ratio. As the numbers get higher, the ratio becomes even closer to 1.618. For example, the ratio of 3 to 5 is 1.666. But the ratio of 13 to 21 is 1.625. Getting even higher, the ratio of 144 to 233 is 1.618. These numbers are all successive numbers in the Fibonacci sequence. These numbers can be applied to the proportions of a rectangle, called the Golden rectangle. This is known as one of the most visually satisfying of all geometric forms – hence, the appearance of the Golden ratio in art. The Golden rectangle is also related to the Golden spiral, which is created by making adjacent squares of Fibonacci dimensions. For the link to the Canva article, check out: www.canva.com/learn/whatisthegoldenratio/
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