# eli5 Golden Ratio

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What are its uses in the real world?

In: 79

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Honestly, it’s massively blown out of proportion. It is a mathematical relationship which describes the ratio between a regular Pentagon’s side length and diagonal length. It crops up a lot in geometry.

There’s a lot of woo and nonsense about it being related to the shapes and structures of different things – in most cases its bad pattern fitting or just plain nonsense. There are some examples of it cropping up in nature, but no more than other relationships

The vast majority I’ve witnessed has been memes which overlay the Fibonacci spiral over mundane pictures, then claim that whatever clearly mundane thing was framed is perfection manifest.

And, honestly, it’s a good use for it. A lot of the claimed legitimate uses in, say, framing a picture can just as easily be explained by other mathematical relationships or just by appealing to shared intuition. The spiral, and the sequence which underlies it is of very limited practical application, so it’s fitting that most of its uses in the last decade have been internetfolk using it to poke fun at its misapplications.

Trying my best to explain it to a 5 year old here.

Imagine a circle. I tell you to place a point as you travel half way through the circle(1/2 of the circle) , then you can only draw 2 points on the circle before going back to your first point.

If you travel 1/100 th of the circle, you can draw only 100 points on the circle before reaching your first point.

If you want to keep putting points without overlapping the earlier points, normal numbers won’t work, you have to use irrational numbers. The numbers that cannot be represented as a fraction.

There are a few irrational numbers with pi being a famous one. The golden ratio is the most irrational number. Which means it’s the hardest to be represented by a fractions.

You can think of it as the ugliest number without the least symmetry, but that is how tha magic happens.

If you point a point on the circle every 1/goldenratio = 0.6180… You could fit the most number of points on the circle before they overlap each other, because as you keep going arround, you will never reach your first point.

Have you ever seen a flower with lots of petals arranged in a pattern that looks really nice? Or a shell that’s all curly and has a shape that’s pleasing to look at? That’s because the golden ratio was used to make those things look so pretty! Nature wants to arrange the petals so they don’t overlap over each other or grow leaves on a tree to they take the most sunlight, golden ratio is used. Same for drawing and designs.

[removed]

Honestly, it’s massively blown out of proportion. It is a mathematical relationship which describes the ratio between a regular Pentagon’s side length and diagonal length. It crops up a lot in geometry.

There’s a lot of woo and nonsense about it being related to the shapes and structures of different things – in most cases its bad pattern fitting or just plain nonsense. There are some examples of it cropping up in nature, but no more than other relationships

The vast majority I’ve witnessed has been memes which overlay the Fibonacci spiral over mundane pictures, then claim that whatever clearly mundane thing was framed is perfection manifest.

And, honestly, it’s a good use for it. A lot of the claimed legitimate uses in, say, framing a picture can just as easily be explained by other mathematical relationships or just by appealing to shared intuition. The spiral, and the sequence which underlies it is of very limited practical application, so it’s fitting that most of its uses in the last decade have been internetfolk using it to poke fun at its misapplications.

Trying my best to explain it to a 5 year old here.

Imagine a circle. I tell you to place a point as you travel half way through the circle(1/2 of the circle) , then you can only draw 2 points on the circle before going back to your first point.

If you travel 1/100 th of the circle, you can draw only 100 points on the circle before reaching your first point.

If you want to keep putting points without overlapping the earlier points, normal numbers won’t work, you have to use irrational numbers. The numbers that cannot be represented as a fraction.

There are a few irrational numbers with pi being a famous one. The golden ratio is the most irrational number. Which means it’s the hardest to be represented by a fractions.

You can think of it as the ugliest number without the least symmetry, but that is how tha magic happens.

If you point a point on the circle every 1/goldenratio = 0.6180… You could fit the most number of points on the circle before they overlap each other, because as you keep going arround, you will never reach your first point.

Have you ever seen a flower with lots of petals arranged in a pattern that looks really nice? Or a shell that’s all curly and has a shape that’s pleasing to look at? That’s because the golden ratio was used to make those things look so pretty! Nature wants to arrange the petals so they don’t overlap over each other or grow leaves on a tree to they take the most sunlight, golden ratio is used. Same for drawing and designs.

~~A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 papers, the ratio between the sides is the golden ratio, which allows you to cut A0 in half and get A1, in half again and your get A2 in half again and your get A3 and so on. Because the ratio is constant after you cut it.~~

I was wrong