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Divine Proportion: Phi In Art, Nature, and Science 1st Edition

22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1402735226
ISBN-10: 1402735227
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; 1st edition (October 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402735227
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402735226
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I lived 20 years in India where i heard stories of the world's great mystics. Deeply touched by their truths and the silent spaces these truths induce, as well as by the singular message that life is a mystery that cannot be solved, I dedicate these books to all those who venture along the pathless path.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Fair reviewer on June 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book gives a good introduction to the concept of the Divine Proportion. The last reviewer seems irritated because this was not the advanced book he expected, but that doesn't diminish the quality of the book.

This book is perfect for those who are curious about the Divine Proportion and how it has been used through the ages. The design and illustrations are delightful.
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47 of 61 people found the following review helpful By K. Gray on February 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has taken a few serious art, architecture, or mathematics classes has at least heard about this magical number, the divine proportion, which has existed as theory in various forms for centuries. I had purchased this book in hopes of learning more about how artists and mathematicians had used this number over time, and especially how it relates to aesthetics in fine art and in nature. I was decidedly underwhelmed.

While the book is nicely designed and the pages are pretty, there is very little depth in the actual text. Most of the images are there to simply fill space; they are not used in any way to illustrate the point the author is supposedly trying to make. Most of the text of the book is actually spent in providing brief, Cliff Notes-like biographies of the people who used the divine proportion. The author spends very little time explaining the actual use of the number, which just makes her argument seem weak and the book seem like a farce. While I am still convinced that the divine proportion and the Fibonacci sequence have importance in mathematical, scientific, and aesthetic theory, this book did nothing to strengthen that conviction. All it did, in fact, was infuriate me by not providing the information I was searching for.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Greg on April 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I always return to this book for inspiration. It is written in a clear, concise, yet creative way, with plenty of illustrations to enhance understanding. It will amaze you how often Phi appears in art, architecture, and other adventures of mankind. If you are an artist at heart, like me, this book won't frighten you away even when it dips into the more scientific aspects of Phi. Like the five universal symbols, Phi reminds us of our mortality and universal creativity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jose Azeredo Keating on June 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
On my view Pryia's book is a delight to read, making a Synthesis between the artístic, qualitative, impressionistic,poetic,humanistic, psychological,
aproach to the study of reality,and the quantitative, mathematic, approach.In fact the designation of"Synthesis"is probably inadequate,one of the more interesting aspects of the book being the discovery of the mathematics present in the beauty of several natural productions as well as in several works of Men and Women.When writing this it came to my mind a few lines of James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a young man":"Ad pulchritudinem tria requiruntur: integritas, consonantia,claritas",where it is said that beauty (ad pulchritudinem...), besides the impression it causes in the beholder(claritas...) is understandable following three parameters (tria...),easily comprehensible, but not so easy to translate exactly.Pryia's book tries, very bravely,to give a present day, mathematic, version of these words, atributed by Joyce to Thomas Aquinas. I dare to reccomend a reading of the three authors above mentioned. Start with "DIVINE PROPORTION"...
Pryia's book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Digital Puer on December 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a nice book on Phi and the history of the mathematicians and philosophers who played a part in identifying its importance. The book is foremost a non-mathematical visual guide and history book, with lots of drawings and photographs on thick pages, so it would serve nicely as a coffee table book (although it's a bit small).

The author delves into the mathematical background of Phi just enough to clearly define what it is and how to derive it. On p. 48, the number itself (1.61803...) is derived from a line segment using basic algebra. On p. 85, the number's relationship to the ratio of two consecutive Fibonacci numbers is shown. Also illustrated are how to create a golden rectangle (p. 84, 106), golden triangle (p. 19), and golden spiral (p. 128) using simple concepts from geometry.

What was very enjoyable was the discussion of the history surrounding the number. The author presents the lineage of mathematicians, including Plato, Euclid, Fibonacci, Kepler, and Penrose, and gives short 1-2 page vignettes describing how each one made important discoveries related to Phi. There are excellent illustrations and diagrams on historic concepts like the Platonic solids and how Fibonacci numbers were framed from a story on rabbits.

The book is very well organised, with chapters on how Phi relates to physical architecture, nature, science, and mysticism. The latter chapters have very nice descriptions of how Phi intersects with crystallography, tiling, packing, and plant features.

Unfortunately, the book is lacking how Phi is concretely applied by man to architecture. The author discusses how Phi could have been used to guide the creation of the Parthenon (using a square-root-of-5 rectangle) but acknowledges that it is still open for debate.
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Format: Hardcover
I knew little bits here and there about the import of the Divine Proportion, but The Secret Code puts everything together in one package. This does not read like a mathematical text; The Secret Code appeals to a more general audience, moving beyond the strictly mathematical import into connections with science, art and nature. The book has over 300 illustrations to assist the reader in grasping the whole concept of the Divine Proportion--the main purpose of this book.

I found the information on Fibonacci most interesting. Many people know about the numerical sequence named after him, but he actually made much more important contributions to mathematics. He introduced the Hindu concepts of number symbols, place values, and zero to the Western world in the 13th Century. Previously, they used Roman numeral and abaci to calculate numbers. This made multiplication and division very complicated! Needless to say, eventual acceptance of these new concepts revolutionized accounting and other business operations, not to mention Western mathematics.

The Secret Code also reminded me that Ptolemy's geocentric model of the universe stood for almost 1500 years until Copernicus proposed his heliocentric model in the 16th Century. It blows my mind that we only figured this out 500 years ago! Yet another example of religious ignorance impeding science.

I do have one primary criticism of the book. It appears obvious that someone (writer or editor) padded or fluffed-up the original manuscript. The connection between some of the images and the text seems tenuous at times. The content of the final chapter of the book had almost no relevance to the subject, and its deletion would have improved the book immensely. The book ends on a weak note.
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