Saturday, May 20, 2006

speaking of proportion

Proportion is a correspondence among the measures of the members of an entire work, and of the whole to a certain part selected as standard. From this result the principles of symmetry. Without symmetry and proportion there can be no principles in the design of any temple; that is, if there is no precise relation between its members as in the case of those of a well shaped man. -- Vitruvius, The Ten Books of Architecture (III, Ch. 1)

I got a new tattoo today. It's this:
I'll post real pics eventually, but it's very angry right now and not so pretty. In case you're wondering what the heck it means, it's a graphic representation of the Golden Section (golden mean, divine proportion, etc.) which you can read about here, here, or here, or if you don't feel like clicking around I can tell you that it's a visually pleasing mathematical ratio found in many natural forms as well as in art and architecture. The Pythagoreans discovered it and ye olde Greek architects as well as Renaissance types like da Vinci (Vitruvian Man for example) were fond of it. When I mentioned this tattoo idea to my sister Katie she said, "like the Pythagoreans, the secret mystical math society? That's awesome! I want one too!" which, if our mother found out and was angry about it, we could always point out is in her honor, since she is a mathematician and exposed us to way too much Donald in Mathmagicland.

Speaking of my mother finding out, my friend Amy said of my last post, "So, I was going to post the following to your blog, but wasn't sure if your parents read it: Don't worry, I'm sure you'll make it to the Beard and Moustache Riding Championships." So do my parents read my blog? Let's find out, shall we? Hey Mom! I've got three tattoos now and my friends make dirty jokes! And I love it that you, like Pythagoras, believe that numbers constitute the true nature of things, so much that I tattooed it on my arm! Holla if you hear me!

1 comment:

kate said...

my body is a billboard for math