The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number

The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number

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Overview

The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number by Mario Livio, Mel Foster

Throughout history, thinkers from mathematicians to theologians have pondered the mysterious relationship between numbers and the nature of reality. In this fascinating book, Mario Livio tells the tale of a number at the heart of that mystery: phi, or 1.6180339887...This curious mathematical relationship, widely known as "The Golden Ratio," was discovered by Euclid more than two thousand years ago because of its crucial role in the construction of the pentagram, to which magical properties had been attributed. Since then it has shown a propensity to appear in the most astonishing variety of places, from mollusk shells, sunflower florets, and rose petals to the shape of the galaxy. Psychological studies have investigated whether the Golden Ratio is the most aesthetically pleasing proportion extant, and it has been asserted that the creators of the Pyramids and the Parthenon employed it. It is believed to feature in works of art from Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa to Salvador Dali's The Sacrament of the Last Supper, and poets and composers have used it in their works. It has even been found to be connected to the behavior of the stock market!

The Golden Ratio is a captivating journey through art and architecture, botany and biology, physics and mathematics. It tells the human story of numerous phi-fixated individuals, including the followers of Pythagoras who believed that this proportion revealed the hand of God; astronomer Johannes Kepler, who saw phi as the greatest treasure of geometry; such Renaissance thinkers as mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa; and such masters of the modern world as Goethe, Cezanne, Bartok, and physicist Roger Penrose. Wherever his quest for the meaning of phi takes him, Mario Livio reveals the world as a place where order, beauty, and eternal mystery will always coexist.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469286075
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 05/14/2013
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Mario Livio is head of the Science Division at the Hubble Space Telescope Institute, where he studies a broad range of subjects in astrophysics, particularly the rate of expansion of the universe. He is the author of one previous book, The Accelerating Universe (2000). He is a frequent public lecturer at such venues as the Smithsonian Institution and the Hayden Planetarium. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an aspiring mathematician, I've been reading pretty much any book I can grab at the book store that has to do with mathematics. Phi is a number that has caught my attention before, and I was looking for a thorough look at different places where the number crops up. I was not, however, looking for any sort of religious discussion. I wish I had known before I bought the book that the word 'God' frequently cropped up in the book. If I had known, I probably would not have bought it. I was looking for a book of mathematics, not speculation into whether god is a mathematician. If that sort of discussion interests you, perhaps you'd like the book. However, if you are like me, hopefully you will not waste your money on it get it from the library or find another book about phi.
eeeehaw More than 1 year ago
This absolutely one of the best math books I've ever read.  Easy to read, even my 6th grader & 11th grader enjoyed it.  Long before the political polarization between the art & science, spiritual & scientific, pragmatic & theoretical extremist communities we so often witness today, math was considered synonymous, at least inter-related with philosophical & "real-world" practices and this book provides the reader with a very informative walk through that history, in this case centered around one of the most important numbers in our physical, and even quantum-physical, world.  This is not a book about religion, aetheism, science, art, or math exclusively...but it does demonstrate that to more fully appreciate the wonder of phi in our world that you must consider how it is related to all those other areas.  Otherwise, you become relegated to the short-sighted ignorance that prevents extremists from all those "exclusive" camps from seeing the beauty, historical knowledge, and pragmatic usage possibilities of the number itself. This is a fast, engaging "hard to put the book down" read.  As an advanced student of math long ago (due to its importance & application in analog electronics engineering), I somehow missed much of the relevance of phi to my work & studies (which are scientfic based), thus I gained ideas for scientific applications from reading this book.  Just as important, I gained interesting knowledge & enjoyment re the history behind the discovery and application of phi to wide variety not-as-"practical" things in our lives, eg art, dance, music, spirituality, and more.  Whenever the human mind discovers aspects of our physical world, it helps us better understand and admire its beauty, which in turn helps us discover more about it.
Joel_M More than 1 year ago
In this book, Mario Livio writing on a popular level explores the history of the so-called golden ratio (also known as "the divine proportion" or "phi"). This ratio is alleged to appears frequently in both nature and art. Livio has obviously done a lot a research and does not approach the subject with the almost fanatical attitude that many "golden numbrists" have. While the golden ratio may not be quite as widespread as some enthusiasts would have you believe, it is certainly a fascinating number that almost seems to be part of God's fingerprint on the universe. Who knew a book about a number could be so interesting?
JJBladester More than 1 year ago
I read Mario Livio's "Is God a Mathematician?" and I absolutely loved it. Given, I'm a Math lover and I actually have a stomach for things like differential equations... But that didn't matter. It was just plain GOOD. Mario Livio's Golden Ratio was no worse. It deals with the magical number Phi (not Pi) which was defined by Euclid as a line divided into extreme and mean ratio. Livio details some phenomanally interesting geometrical implications of the Golden Ratio and sets out to dispell common misconceptions of the Golden Ratio appearing in great works like the Pyramids and the Parthenon. What is interesting to me is that so many people in history have spent time trying to understand Phi. From Euclid to the Pythagoreans and beyond, this magical number has perplexed us. Mario gives us a splendid account of Phi's evolution in time. Livio doesn't write in a dry Math textbook way. He captivates the reader with colorful bits and pieces of history which keep you flipping the pages. I highly recommend this book to any Math enthusiast.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the best math book I have every read. It explains in detail the history of the golden ratio and the people that contributed in discovering this powerful number, some not even knowing of their contributions.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Prett Interesting read but it is mostly Livio's opinion. There are some factual evidence but for the most part, he takes away credit of many early civilizations such as the pyramids, etc.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read, easy to understand. More than enough to understand what PHI is about.
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