Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Putting the Phi in PhilosFX

A quick sketch about the Golden Ratio

Even the most casual readers of PhilosFX will notice the Greek letter, phi, in the blog's masthead. Phi, the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet, is the first letter in our word, phi-losophy, and it is also the symbol associated with one of the most powerful and intriguing ratios known to man: the Golden Ratio.

If you cut a string into two unequal segments, such that the ratio of the length of the short segment to the length of the long segment is equal to the ratio of the long segment to the original, then you will have cut the string according to the Golden Ratio, which is expressed in digits as 1.61803.

This ancient proportioning system is powerful because the result is innately pleasing to the human eye. Our concept of beauty in nature and in the designs of art and architecture is heavily influenced by the effect this ratio has on our perceptions. The ancient Greeks used phi to design sculptures and temples. Renaissance artists and architects revived the ancient code and embedded it in countless examples of idealized beauty which survive to this day. Modern designers still use phi because the resulting proportions practically guarantee a pleasing effect.    

Why am I posting this today, January 6th? It's about numbers. Some folks celebrate the importance of pi (3.14) on March 14th. I like to call attention to phi (1.6) on January 6th. I have not decided how to celebrate the Fibonacci Sequence yet. Any suggestions? Please add them to the comments!  

To learn more about the Golden Ratio, lease enjoy this outstanding website, and consider signing up for updates from the Phi Guy!