Monday, February 27, 2017

Not so Golden?

We discussed Golden section search method for optimizing functions in 1D last week. Naturally, we had to talk about the golden ratio (GR) and its appearance in the cultural zeitgeist.

However, there are many misconceptions/misunderstandings about the golden ratio, as researched in this eminently readable 1992 article by George Markowsky (pdf). For example:

  • neither the great pyramid of Cheops, nor the Parthenon, were designed to conform to the GR
  • da Vinci did not use the GR in his paintings
  • the golden rectangle is not obviously the most aesthetically pleasing rectangle
  • connection with the dimensions of the human body are exaggerated,
  • etc.

Keith Devlin explores this misconception in this video:

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