The Golden Ratio

Christian Lee

When staring at a masterpiece of artwork, you may wonder what the artist used to perfect it. Artists actually use mathematics to find the perfect proportions of their works. Leonardo DaVinci, Sandro Bottecilli, Michaelangelo, and Georges Seurat use special calculations to perfect their works. There are many numbers that are used to calculate, but there is a specific ratio that is what the world is based on. The ratio of 1 : 1.618, also known as Phi, is the way this world was designed, but no one knows why everything is based on this ratio. The intriguing golden ratio of the world is a subject that has many mysteries behind it.

Courtesy of Grays School of Art

The Phi ratio is unique due to its frequent appearance in the world. If you measure your arm, forearm to hand, you will realize that there is a certain length difference. Measuring your face also has similar results, including the distance between your eyes, mouth, and even your nose. Let’s go back in time to see a famous Greek structure called the Parthenon. The Phi ratio was used to make this building extremely sturdy, making it last for the past 2,468 years. This ratio is the blueprint to perfection of how things are designed.

Courtesy of

Your brain tends to see objects made in this ratio more pleasing to the eye. People find spirals as a mesmerizing picture, and it is due to the Phi ratio in use. In a fossil like the Nautilus, which has a spiraling shell design, you can see the 1 : 1.618 measurement within it. There are so many examples of Phi in life, architecture, beauty, math, and religion, that people wonder why everything is based on the numbers 1:1.618.

Phi was actually not as popular in the distant past. It only had been popularized by Italian Renaissance mathematician Luca Pacioli, who wrote a book explaining the perfection left behind by the golden ratio. After the book’s publication, the world saw the number Phi in a different light and started to use it to its full potential.

Mrs. Van Dyke, a 7th grade math teacher at our school, answered when asked about her thoughts on the Phi golden ratio. “It is amazing that there are connections to nature within numbers. Many artists and architects are using this thing that connects them to nature. I love the connection.” Then when asked about whether younger students should learn about Phi, she responded quickly, “Of course! I think it is important to teach anyone this! There are connections with nature in growing students and I find that wonderful.”

This divine proportion is a mysterious number that represents our nature, and can help people perfect things. The fact that there is something like this in the world is extraordinary and we should be grateful for all the Renaissance people that came up with this brilliant sequence.