Scientific American presents Math Dude by Quick & Dirty Tips. Scientific American and Quick & Dirty Tips are both Macmillan companies.

Despite many people’s assumption to the contrary, math is undeniably artistic. It takes a tremendous amount of creative muscle and artistry to devise mathematical solutions. And, as made evident by their frequent battles between elegant symmetry and rampant chaos, the traditional fine arts are chock-full of math. Suffice it to say that math and art are intimately related. Today we’re going to take a look at one of these happy relationships and see how the golden ratio that we talked about last time can make you a better photographer.

Recap of the Golden Ratio
In a previous article, we discovered a surprising connection between the Fibonacci sequence developed to model the growth of rabbit populations and the golden ratio used in art and architecture. By simply dividing each element in the Fibonacci sequence by the previous one, we obtained a brand new sequence which, amazingly enough, continually converged toward the value of the golden ratio—also known as “phi.” That may not seem all that amazing, but the strange thing is that phi and the shapes derived from it—like the golden rectangle we talked about—had been used artistically for thousands of years before Fibonacci ever contemplated rabbits. So the fact that this number even shows up in the rabbit problem means there must be something fundamentally important about it...and that possibility is pretty amazing.

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