Anna Hunt, Staff Writer
In the famous Fibonacci sequence, each number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two. It begins with 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and continues so on. When you take two successive numbers in this sequence, their ratio is very close to 1.618, which is called the golden ratio. The Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio are present in many parts of the natural world including the shape of plants, human and animal bodies, weather patterns, and even galaxies. It is said that they govern order in the natural world.
Now, researchers from South Africa claim that the golden ratio can be seen in the topology of space-time, giving the argument that the ratio keeps the entire Universe in order.
Dr. Jan Boeyens at the University of Pretoria and Dr. Francis Thackeray of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa have researched the many ways that the golden ratio can be seen ‘related not only to aspects of mathematics but also to physics, chemistry, biology and the topology of space-time.’ The researchers believe that geometric shapes found in the natural world throughout the Universe ultimately succumb to the same mathematical property of 1.618.
The golden ratio creates an aesthetically pleasing appearance, in nature often resembling a spiral shape and, artificially, used by artists when creating art such as portraits and human body dimensions. Mathematically, it is represented by the Greek letter ‘phi’ and is said to be “a mathematical connection between two aspects of an object.” In the natural world, it is found in plants, such as sunflowers, pine cones, pineapples and cauliflower, as well as in animals’ skeletons and parts such as elephant tusks. It also represents the proportions all over the human body, such as from the hand to the forearm, or the distance between the three knuckles on each finger.
Drs. Boeyens and Thackeray’s research extends the golden ratio to the concept of space-time:
‘A convincing case for assuming a cosmic character of the golden ratio can be made based on the ubiquity of logarithmic spirals,’ the researchers write.
‘Spectacular examples include the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), ammonites, the shape of Nautilus shells, Hurricane Katrina and the distribution of planets, moons, asteroids and rings in the solar system.’
‘The argument that this amazing consilience (self-similarity) arises from a common environmental constraint, which can only be an intrinsic feature of curved space-time, is compelling,’ they write.
‘The time has come to recognise that relativity and quantum theories can be integrated, and linked numerically to the value of a mathematical constant – whether in the context of space-time or biology’.
Some might think that the presence of the golden ratio in a tiny seashell as well as the solar system is a coincidence. Yet, perhaps there is more to learn from the beauty of such intelligent design that permeates so many things throughout the Universe. Similar to the cosmic connection we share with all living beings in the universe that emit an energetic vibration, the golden ratio may be another clue that brings us closer to understanding the that ties between our human existence and the cosmos.
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