The golden ratio: the story of phi, the world's most astonishing number

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Broadway Books, 2002 - Mathematics - 294 pages
26 Reviews
Throughout history, thinkers from mathematicians to theologians have pondered the mysterious relationship between numbers and the nature of reality. In this fascinating book, Mario Livio tells the tale of a number at the heart of that mystery: phi, or 1.6180339887...This curious mathematical relationship, widely known as "The Golden Ratio," was discovered by Euclid more than two thousand years ago because of its crucial role in the construction of the pentagram, to which magical properties had been attributed. Since then it has shown a propensity to appear in the most astonishing variety of places, from mollusk shells, sunflower florets, and rose petals to the shape of the galaxy. Psychological studies have investigated whether the Golden Ratio is the most aesthetically pleasing proportion extant, and it has been asserted that the creators of the Pyramids and the Parthenon employed it. It is believed to feature in works of art from Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa to Salvador Dali's The Sacrament of the Last Supper, and poets and composers have used it in their works. It has even been found to be connected to the behavior of the stock market!

The Golden Ratio is a captivating journey through art and architecture, botany and biology, physics and mathematics. It tells the human story of numerous phi-fixated individuals, including the followers of Pythagoras who believed that this proportion revealed the hand of God; astronomer Johannes Kepler, who saw phi as the greatest treasure of geometry; such Renaissance thinkers as mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa; and such masters of the modern world as Goethe, Cezanne, Bartok, and physicist Roger Penrose. Wherever his quest for the meaning of phi takes him, Mario Livio reveals the world as a place where order, beauty, and eternal mystery will always coexist.

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

User Review  - Andrew - Goodreads

The best way to read this book is to read the first 2 chapters (40 pages total) and then read the last two (50 pages total). The interior 160 pages are absolutely incredibly boring. Mind-numbingly ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Paulo Glez Ogando - Goodreads

I think this is a necessary book. Whether you have read a lot about phi or not, this one is a "must read" if you like popular maths. Mario Livio analyzes the presence of the irrational number phi ... Read full review

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Contents

THE PITCH AND THE PENTAGRAM
12
THE DIVINE PROPORTION
124
APPENDICES
255
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Mario Livio is head of the Science Division at the Hubble Space Telescope Institute, where he studies a broad range of subjects in astrophysics, particularly the rate of expansion of the universe. He is the author of one previous book, The Accelerating Universe (2000). He is a frequent public lecturer at such venues as the Smithsonian Institution and the Hayden Planetarium. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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