Divine Proportion
Phi in Art, Nature, and Science
By Priya Hemenway

      "At the intersection of two traditionally dueling fields -- science and religion -- the Divine Proportion (Phi) connects patterns of growth with natural laws, mathematical expressions, and principles of artistic design.  Through the endless applications of properties that emerge from its geometry, we see proportionality and symmetry in everything from the creation of our bodies to the leaf patterns on plants to the spiral patterns of a hurricane.

      Has this proportion that largely shaped art history, that is built into the Parthenon, inscribed in Mona Lisa's endlessly mysterious face, and lent subtle strength to Michelangel's David -- silently determined which pieces endured?  Is the pleasure we feel listening to harmonious music a primal response to the same proportion that defines us?  Does nature have a hidden blueprint that can illuminate humankind's age-old search for meaning -- or does the Divine Proportion offer only pieces of a puzzle, one that will continue to intrigue and mystify for centuries to come?

      In numbers we have found ways to describe order in what at first appeared to be chaos, to collect empirical data about ourselves and the universe, and to compare that data across continents and centuries.  In Phi we have found a symbol of such resounding and remarkable properties that we have come to endow it with an almost spiritual presence, one that lives up to the name of the proportion it defines."

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