Mount Union Student Studies Beauty in Nature

April 24, 2012


ALLIANCE, Ohio — “Calculating Beauty: Mathematics in Art and Nature” was the topic of a SCHOLAR Day presentation given by junior mathematics major Alex Wolfe of Atwater, OH on Tuesday April 17 at the University of Mount Union.

Wolfe’s project was sponsored by Anne Triplett, associate professor of mathematics.

Wolfe’s research looked at a number of artistic works and how they are “beautiful” in the mathematical sense of the word. Wolfe discussed Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio in art and nature. The Fibonacci sequence is a sequence of numbers in which each term is the sum of the two before it.

The golden ratio, Wolfe said, is the sum of two quantities over the larger quantity. The ratio shows up in many well-known art works including the Mona Lisa and in ancient architecture such as the Parthenon, according to Wolfe. At that time, the golden ratio wasn’t known about yet.

“It may be a coincidence because it is so visually pleasing,” he said.

Wolfe also noted that many aspects of music are related to Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio.

“Without mathematics, there is no art,” Wolfe said.

 

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