The Greek mathematician Pythagoras is credited with the discovery of the Golden Rectangle. The Golden Rectangle is built on the “golden ratio” or “golden proportion,” which is determined by the irrational number known as Phi. (Symbolized by its namesake, the Greek letter phi:)
To put it simply, a golden rectangle is a rectangle divided in such a way as to create a square and a smaller rectangle that retains the same proportions as the original rectangle. To do this, one must create a rectangle based on the golden ratio.
To find the Golden Ratio, one must divide a line so that the ratio of the line to the larger segment is equal to the ratio of the larger segment to the smaller:
A is to B as B is to C
To get a golden rectangle, you simply turn the larger segment of the line into a square:
If you add a square to the long side of the “golden rectangle,” you’ll get a larger golden rectangle. If you continue to add squares in this way, you’ll see the basis for nature’s logarithmic spiral patterns.
The golden proportion appears in numerous places in nature and in art and architecture. It forms the basis for Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Divine Proportion,” the ideal illustrated in his drawing Vitruvian Man. The face of the Parthenon in Athens is a perfect golden rectangle. The shell of the nautilus is a famous example of a spiral based on the golden mean, as is the spiral of the human DNA molecule.