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Described by the 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler as a ‘precious jewel’, the so-called ‘golden ratio’ is an irrational number whose physical manifestation is prevalent in nature and has been employed by artists, architects and designers for its aesthetic allure. It has been argued, however, that the ratio’s occurrence in the natural world has been exaggerated, and that its ‘beauty’ can be chalked up to its pleasing simplicity. This brief animation explores the ratio through its most famous manifestation, the ‘golden rectangle’, whose very name begs the question whether some shapes are inherently more beautiful than others.
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