We’re always hearing about the pervasive Golden Ratio, but what exactly is it?
Well, the Golden Ratio is a number that has earned a spot upon a pedestal.
This number is the result of breaking a line into two parts, so that the bigger piece divided by the littler piece is the same as the entire line divided by the bigger piece.
Its symbol is phi (a Greek letter), and much like its more popular cousin, pi, it’s a number that carries onto infinity, but we round it off to 1.618.
Because this number is so commonly used throughout the natural world, it’s been “discovered” many times by many people, which is why it’s known by so many names.
Today, we call it the Golden Ratio, but it’s also known as the Golden Section, the Golden Mean, the Fibonacci Number, and the Divine Proportion.
The Golden Ratio matters because it shows up just about everywhere. It’s embedded within the architecture of countless ancient civilizations, including the Parthenon and the Great Pyramids. But it’s more than just math and architecture– the Golden Ratio influences our daily lives, and even our psychology.
Several studies have observed that humans are most attracted to faces that have Golden Ratio proportions between their features.
But perhaps most interesting is the frequent recurrence of the Golden Ratio in nature. Some examples of the Golden Ratio in nature are:
1) Fruits, seed heads, vegetables, and pine cones
A sunflower is an excellent example of this. If you look carefully at the center, you’ll realize that the center seems to have spirals that curve to the left and to the right. If you count them, you come up with the Fibonacci Sequence. This pattern is also reflected in cauliflower, pineapple, and pine cones!
Next time you buy a pineapple, take a look at it before you cut it open.
2) Flower petals and tree branches
Many tree species show the Fibonacci number when you study the places where their branches split, or their growth points. The trunk will grow and produce a branch, which results in two different growth points. Then one branch will split, resulting in three, ad infinitum, in a pattern that matches the Fibonacci Sequence. This also occurs in many flower petals. The total number of petals will usually be one of the numbers found in the Fibonacci Sequence– most commonly, three, five or eight.
3) The lineage of honeybees
Another great example of the Golden Ratio in nature is the makeup of a honeybee colony. There is a queen, a handful of drones, and countless worker bees.
The worker bees and the queens (which are all female) have two parents, a queen and a drone, but drones are another story.
Each drone hatches from an unfertilized egg, which means that it has one parent instead of two. Following this pattern, the drone has two grandparents and three great-grandparents, which expresses the ratio perfectly.
4) Golden Ratio in nature within our own bodies
If you look at yourself in the mirror, you’ll realize that most of your body parts (assuming you have all of them!) come in one, two, three, or five.
One nose, one mouth, two eyes, five fingers per hand, three segments per limb. The measurements of your body also divide up to equal the Golden Ratio! Even your DNA follows the famous sequence.
5) Animal shells
Both sea shells and snail shells follow the Fibonacci Sequence if you look at their spiral patterns.
6) Spiral galaxies like the Milky Way
Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, has many arms in its spiral, each one roughly twelve degrees. Its shape is exactly identical to the Golden Spiral, and it’s easy to draw the Golden Rectangle superimposed over any spiral galaxy in the universe.
7) Other animals
As already mentioned, our bodies follow the Golden Ratio, but so do the bodies of many other animals.
Some examples are: starfish, sand dollars, dolphins (the tail, fins and eye all fall into golden sections) , ants, and sea urchins.
Like galaxies and animal shells, hurricanes often illustrate the Golden Spiral perfectly.
These patterns extend all the way to veins in plants and animals, the geometric patterns found in crystals, and many other chemical compounds. It’s baffling to think that all of nature is built using the same numbers, but it leads to far more questions than it answers.
Why are so many things put together according to the Golden Ratio?
Some of it may certainly be the result of coincidence, but other occurrences are far too precise to simply be coincidental.
The Golden Ratio, in nature, is cited by many as proof of our connectedness to the universe at large.
Others argue that it is just random and not at all precise enough to base anything on. They are skeptical as to whether these measurements mean much at all.
Question: If all of nature is built so similarly, is it so unrealistic to believe that all of nature, may in fact have been designed?