Chameleon Tail

What do sunflowers, the Parthenon, a snail, the Great Pyramids, and you all have in common? The golden ratio.

You can spot the golden ratio in the swirl of a galaxy, the arch of an ocean wave, the tail of a seahorse, and innumerable other places in nature.

It’s found in paintings, sculptures, and buildings. In fact, some people believe that man-made designs that incorporate the golden ratio are more aesthetically pleasing.

You can even find the golden ratio in the helix of your DNA, the pattern of your heartbeat on a heart monitor, your facial structure, and the spiral of your ear.

In mathematics, two quantities are in the
golden ratio if their ratio is the same as
the ratio of their sum to the larger of the
two quantities. Put simply, it’s a math term
also called by its Greek letter *phi* (φ),
which refers to an irrational number
approximating 1.618.

It is the ratio of successive numbers
that converge to *phi* (φ) in the Fibonacci
sequence, a term you might have learned in
high school or college math. The Fibonacci
sequence follows a simple formula:

0 + 1 = 1

Now take that sum and add it to the second number in the equation.

No matter how long you follow the formula of adding the sum to the second number in the equation, the sequence continues.

Now, if you divide two successive Fibonacci
numbers, their ratios converge to the
golden ratio, or *phi* (φ).

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, . . .

For instance 89÷55 approximates *phi* (φ)

To understand the golden ratio, look
at the golden rectangle. A golden
rectangle has sides with measurements
equaling the ratio *phi* (φ). Within that
rectangle, you can section off a perfect
square. The resulting rectangle has
the same proportions as the original
rectangle. In the new smaller rectangle,
you can section off another perfect
square, and the remaining rectangle
will have the same proportions as the
original rectangles.

Dividing the golden rectangle into perfect squares creates the blueprint for the golden spiral, another visual representation of the golden ratio. As the golden ratio divides, the golden spiral curves fill each square in the same ratio of space. The spiral can continue inward and outward, retaining the same proportions, just like the rectangle.

Many mathematicians argue that people have exaggerated the golden ratio, fudging measurements and simply estimating to find it more frequently than it actually appears.

But the golden ratio is undoubtedly and repeatedly present in creation. Such recurrences make sense in light of a common Designer. Just as you can identify the work of a painter by his style, you can find “fingerprints” of our Designer in all aspects of his creation.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. (Romans 1:20)

served on active duty in the US military
for 33 years and retired at the rank of colonel in the US
Marine Corps. He is currently the director of ministry and
media relations at Answers in Genesis.

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