The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World’s Most Astonishing Number

Mario Livio

Many brilliant minds throughout history, from mathematicians to theologians, have pondered the perplexing connection between numbers and the fundamental nature of the universe. In this enthralling book, author Mario Livio recounts the story of phi, also known as 1.6180339887, a number that lies at the center of the riddle…

Euclid, who lived more than 2,000 years ago, is credited with discovering this peculiar mathematical relationship, commonly referred to as “The Golden Ratio.” This ratio was essential in constructing the pentagram, which was thought to possess magical properties. Since then, it has demonstrated a tendency to appear in the most astounding diversity of places, ranging from the form of the galaxy to the florets of sunflowers and rose petals and even in the shells of mollusks. Studies in psychology have been conducted to determine whether the Golden Ratio is the most aesthetically beautiful proportion currently exists. It is speculated that the architects who designed the Pyramids and the Parthenon used it in their work. It is thought to be included in works of art ranging from Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Salvador Dali’s The Sacrament of the Last Supper, and it has been used in the works of poets and composers. It has even been established that there is a link between it and the behavior of the stock market!

This enthralling excursion into the worlds of art and architecture, botany and biology, physics and mathematics is brought to life in The Golden Ratio. It tells the human story of numerous people who were fixated on the number phi, such as the followers of Pythagoras, who believed that this proportion revealed the hand of God; the astronomer Johannes Kepler, who saw phi as the greatest treasure of geometry; Renaissance thinkers such as the mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa; and masters of the modern world such as Goethe, Cezanne, Bartok, and physicist Roger Pen. It doesn’t matter where Mario Livio’s search for the meaning of phi leads him; wherever he goes, he finds that the world is one in which order, beauty, and an unsolvable mystery will always coexist.