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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

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Adrian Morgan

Some points:

1. The idea that Homo erectus used the golden rectangle in their tools is fascinating.

2. That said, I'm sceptical of the supposed aesthetic significance of the golden rectangle. Any aesthetically pleasing proportion is bound to be close to some mathematically significant proportion, and I've never seen a good argument for why this correlation isn't just a coincidence.

3. I find the graphic of the fist unpersuasive for two reasons. Firstly, it's not at all obvious why the golden rectangle should be overlaid on the fist in that particular manner. Secondly, the fist strikes me as atypical: my own hands can't be bent into a shape that closely resembles the picture (e.g. my thumb doesn't stretch that far). Usually when people make a fist, the thumb goes under the other fingers, not over.

CIngram

Phi is only significant in terms of certain mathematical concepts which it is surely impossible that H. erectus had any conception of. Is it not more likely that that shape fits comfortably in the hand?

Not if you've ever been involved in a fist-fight, it doesn't!

CIngram

Something went wrong with the HTML; let's try again:

Phi is only significant in terms of certain mathematical concepts which it is surely impossible that H. erectus had any conception of. Is it not more likely that that shape fits comfortably in the hand?

Adrian Morgan:

"Usually when people make a fist, the thumb goes under the other fingers, not over."

Not if you've ever been involved in a fist-fight, it doesn't!

Adrian Morgan

Another thing: to the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever suggested that an aerial view of the Parthenon resembles a Golden Rectangle. The claim is always made in relation to the front of the building (as illustrated on various websites, e.g. here and here).

Note also that the point of using the Golden Rectangle in Ancient Greek architecture is said to be aesthetic, and whereas the front of the building would be viewed many times, no Ancient Greek would ever have looked down on an aerial view of the Parthenon.

For these reasons, I think the above illustration of the Parthenon enclosed in a Golden Rectangle is misleading and irrelevant.

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