Math Magic and Nature

Geometry is an amazing part of math knowledge. When I was in school and someone would say, “Why should I learn this, I’ll never use it,” it astonished me.  All around us are amazing geometries that are not only meaningful, but give life structure.flower of life

Phi is a number–.1.6180339. Like Pi, it continues forever. There is a way it was derived, but there is something even more interesting about Phi. The number can be scaled into a grid. And the grid gains meaning in nature–it can be found in the way rose petals shape the bud, the pattern of sunflower seeds in the center of the flower, and the way branches are spaced along the trunk of a tree.

Even if you’ve never heard of Phi, you are walking around with it. The length of your hands and lower arms follow Phi, and so do your facial features. Leonardo Da Vinci figured out many of the applications.

Here’s a quick way to check: your foot is the length of your lower arm. If you are flexible enough, place your heel on the inside of your elbow. Your toes will reach to your wrist.

Shells that spiral follow the path of Phi. The eye, fin and tail of a dolphin align with the ratio. A line drawn between the pupils and down to the corners of the mouth follow the Phi proportion. We consider a person attractive if the lines form a square. Your two front teeth form a rectangle in the Phi proportions in height and width.

You can see more examples and you can download a grid and use it to check it for yourself. And I promise not to tell anyone you are using geometry and loving it.

Image: flower of life, derived from Phi and the Fibonacci sequence

–Quinn McDonald suffers from some forms of math fear, but loves geometry. She is a writer and creativity coach. See her work at and at