The Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Numbers, And Other Recurrences

Great Theoretical Ideas In Computer Science
John Lafferty
Carnegie Mellon University free ebook

introduction from

The golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion, golden mean, or golden section, is a number often encountered when taking the ratios of distances in simple geometric figures such as the pentagon, pentagram, decagon and dodecahedron. It is denoted phi, or sometimes tau.
The designations “phi” (for the golden ratio conjugate 1/phi) and “Phi” (for the larger quantity phi) are sometimes also used (Knott), although this usage is not necessarily recommended.
The term “golden section” (in German, goldener Schnitt or der goldene Schnitt) seems to first have been used by Martin Ohm in the 1835 2nd edition of his textbook Die Reine Elementar-Mathematik (Livio 2002, p. 6). The first known use of this term in English is in James Sulley’s 1875 article on aesthetics in the 9th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The symbol phi (“phi”) was apparently first used by Mark Barr at the beginning of the 20th century in commemoration of the Greek sculptor Phidias (ca. 490-430 BC), who a number of art historians claim made extensive use of the golden ratio in his works (Livio 2002, pp. 5-6). Similarly, the alternate notation tau is an abbreviation of the Greek tome, meaning “to cut.”
In the Season 1 episode “Sabotage” (2005) of the television crime drama NUMB3RS, math genius Charlie Eppes mentions that the golden ratio is found in the pyramids of Giza and the Parthenon at Athens. Similarly, the character Robert Langdon in the novel The Da Vinci Code makes similar such statements (Brown 2003, pp. 93-95). However, claims of the significance of the golden ratio appearing prominently in art, architecture, sculpture, anatomy, etc., tend to be greatly exaggerated.
phi has surprising connections with continued fractions and the Euclidean algorithm for computing the greatest common divisor of two integers…. free ebook