Endless Additions

By Carl Zimmer | June 22, 2008 12:11 am

golden-ratio.jpg

Courtney writes:

So, φ, the golden ratio (an honest to goodness irrational number that’s equal to 1.618…) appears all over the place and is considered to be the particular ratio associated with beauty. It comes up in discussions about architecture, the spiral on seashells, and the path a hawk in flight takes as it swoops to catch its prey (the vegan in me doesn’t like to contemplate that last one).

It’s often written as (1+ squareroot(5))/2, but that’s not the only way it can be written. Mathematically, it’s algebraic, which means it can be written as a continued fraction:

1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(…)))

So in my tattoo, if you start reading at one of the “1+1″ parts, you actually read it as “one plus one over one plus one over one plus one over…” — exactly the infinite fraction!

There’s some cool stuff about the golden ratio on wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio (starts off with general information)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio#Alternate_forms (writing it mathematically)

My tattoo was done by Jack of Art with a Pulse in Colorado Springs, CO.

Click here to go to the full Science Tattoo Emporium.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium
MORE ABOUT: math tattoos

Comments (1)

  1. Jason Brunet

    The great thing about that tattoo is that the artist only had to ink it once, and then he just copied and pasted the rest.

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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