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# Golden ratio. watch

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1. The title should get the TSR mathmos swarming in...

I was reading about the golden ratio, and while it's all very interesting and that, the ratio of those lines you know a/b =a+b/a =phi got me thinking. Why on earth would anyone want to work that out in the first place? I just fail to see the original point. Sure after deep study of this golden ratio it throws up useful stuff, but why on earth did someone get fascinated with that one exact ratio of those lines?

This is what I don't get about pure mathematics, it all seems a bit pointless and abstract.

Now chemistry for instance, say you encounter some strange new substance, investigating what it is and what it does is immediately practical and potentially useful. But pure maths, it's all about finding pointless patterns in things such as prime numbers etc. (What is the point in prime numbers??? never had any use for them ever). The maths I like is the practical real world stuff like trigonometry and calculus. They are useful fro working out things we need to know. ( and yeah eventually some pure maths stuff becomes scientifically useful but it originally wasn't and wont be for many years.)

And please, no neg rep from angry mathematicians, this is not a angry rant at your subject, I just want to know what motivates you to study the pointless.
2. Regarding prime numbers, as far as I know they have an application in encryption.

Anyway most things do have a practical application, it'll most likely be something you don't even need to know but it'll probably be important nevertheless, I mean would you fancy getting your credit card details stolen.. that's a very plausible case if weak encryption is used.

How/why did someone start studying the golden ratio... I'm no mathematician but you have to bear in mind that people are different and some are naturally more mathematically inclined, their brains may detect patterns more prominently (we all do this, but at a subtle level) and that could interest them in further study or something along those lines.
3. (Original post by darkraver)
Regarding prime numbers, as far as I know they have an application in encryption.

Anything related to Riemanns Hypothesis?
4. (Original post by S-man10)
Anything related to Riemanns Hypothesis?
Yeah but that's specialist. for most things in say physics you gotta have a basic knowledge of trigonometry for instance. non-abstract maths is more useful at the lower level is what I think.
5. (Original post by S.R)
Yeah but that's specialist. for most things in say physics you gotta have a basic knowledge of trigonometry for instance. non-abstract maths is more useful at the lower level is what I think.

How is it specialist? As far as I am aware, pure mathematics is used in many real world applications.

Correct me if I am wrong.
6. Was hoping this would be about heroin.
7. (Original post by sam.day)
Was hoping this would be about heroin.
8. (Original post by S-man10)
How is it specialist? As far as I am aware, pure mathematics is used in many real world applications.

Correct me if I am wrong.
Yeah but I mean studying it initially, I wouldn't be interested as it is hard to see the point.
9. (Original post by S.R)
Yeah but I mean studying it initially, I wouldn't be interested as it is hard to see the point.

Mathematicians see beauty in abstractness. Not the best way to put it, but I think they know that studying maths will enable them to to design something new. Nearly all of technology is based on maths. That maybe be motivating enough. Nature uses maths to communicate.

BTW ever seen a TV show called Numb3rs? Also take a look at Eulers identity.
10. (Original post by S.R)
Yeah but I mean studying it initially, I wouldn't be interested as it is hard to see the point.
Mathematicians, especially pure mathematicians, don't do mathematics because they think that the applications of their work is important or useful. (The same is true of physicists and chemists). The reasons they do their work is because they find their work enjoyable. Solving puzzles is fun for many people, and if those puzzles arise in mathematics people are happy to try and solve them.
11. (Original post by S-man10)
Mathematicians see beauty in abstractness. Not the best way to put it, but I think they know that studying maths will enable them to to design something new. Nearly all of technology is based on maths. That maybe be motivating enough. Nature uses maths to communicate.
I see, but science rules! Don't wanna get into a debate about it as its a bit "chicken or the egg" tbh. Without maths there would be no science, but most of maths would be pointless without science.
(Original post by S-man10)
BTW ever seen a TV show called Numb3rs?
Yeah that forensic programme where he uses maths to solve crime. Why? And is that even possible? And why cant they ever make a programme that makes scientists look cool
12. (Original post by S.R)
I see, but science rules! Don't wanna get into a debate about it as its a bit "chicken or the egg" tbh. Without maths there would be no science, but most of maths would be pointless without science.
What maths would be pointless without science?
13. (Original post by S.R)
I see, but science rules! Don't wanna get into a debate about it as its a bit "chicken or the egg" tbh. Without maths there would be no science, but most of maths would be pointless without science.

Yeah that forensic programme where he uses maths to solve crime. Why? And is that even possible? And why cant they ever make a programme that makes scientists look cool

Math itself is not all pointles. Consider that in ancient times, people used logic and math to solve stuff. Technology to attempt scientific experiments of great complexity did not exist. Math was a way to communicate with nature.

As for using science as a forsenic tol, you already have chemistry and a bit of biology, but I fail to see how a genius can use Quantum Mechanics to solve crimes. Big Bang theory makes physicist look nerdy, but cool.
14. (Original post by SimonM)
Mathematicians, especially pure mathematicians, don't do mathematics because they think that the applications of their work is important or useful. (The same is true of physicists and chemists). The reasons they do their work is because they find their work enjoyable. Solving puzzles is fun for many people, and if those puzzles arise in mathematics people are happy to try and solve them.
Nah, in science you don't get research money to spend on things you find purely enjoyable with no gain from it. At the very least the aim must be to understand more about something. This is kinda abstract in itself but maths is even more so as this golden ratio business wasn't even to understand something, it was just some random ratio that someone thought interesting. if you get what I mean.
15. (Original post by S.R)
Nah, in science you don't get research money to spend on things you find purely enjoyable with no gain from it. At the very least the aim must be to understand more about something. This is kinda abstract in itself but maths is even more so as this golden ratio business wasn't even to understand something, it was just some random ratio that someone thought interesting. if you get what I mean.
Of course you do. (Well, that depends on your view of gain). But if you mean something which will have no practical applications at present, then of course you do!

Also, I have no idea what you're going on about the "golden ratio" for.
16. (Original post by S-man10)
As for using science as a forsenic tol, you already have chemistry and a bit of biology, but I fail to see how a genius can use Quantum Mechanics to solve crimes. Big Bang theory makes physicist look nerdy, but cool.
And materials science. And Physics. (Trajectories, impact analysis etc)

Mathematics is rarely used in forensics. Perhaps Benford's law in forensic accounting, and perhaps some cryptography in forensic CS but aside from that...
17. (Original post by S-man10)
, but I fail to see how a genius can use Quantum Mechanics to solve crimes.
More improper use of Quantum Mechanics! First those damn crystal healers now TV? Where will it end? I swear Quantum Mechanics has just been mystified. I bet if you did a street survey hardly anyone could say the absolute basics of what it was about.
(Original post by S-man10)
Big Bang theory makes physicist look nerdy, but cool.
Big Bang theory makes physicists look nerdy. full stop.
18. (Original post by SimonM)
Of course you do. (Well, that depends on your view of gain). But if you mean something which will have no practical applications at present, then of course you do!

Also, I have no idea what you're going on about the "golden ratio" for.
Was just reading about it and just cant understand the reason for choosing that particular ratio in the first place. That is why.
19. (Original post by SimonM)
And materials science. And Physics. (Trajectories, impact analysis etc)

Mathematics is rarely used in forensics. Perhaps Benford's law in forensic accounting, and perhaps some cryptography in forensic CS but aside from that...

LOL, I sort of meant it as a comparison, but it wasnt a good one. Or can you really use Quantum Mechanics to solve crimes or anything along those lines?

What about all the mathematics Charlie uses in Numb3rs, assuming if you have watched the TV show. He always devises some sort of algorithm to get to the basic root or the problem, or uses probability theory, or hot zone and stuff.

Please forgive me, I am really not a expert mathematician. But I do admire the simple beauty of the subject.

Edit: Typos.
20. (Original post by S.R)
Was just reading about it and just cant understand the reason for choosing that particular ratio in the first place. That is why.
Because it has lots of interesting properties, really. You wouldn't -study- that ratio, you would see it crop up all over the place and it'd get a reputation, so to speak

Like, it's the slowest converging continued fraction, it's the slowest converging continued square root, it's used in the fibonnaci formula, paintings are in roughly that ratio as well because we find it aesthetic!

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Updated: August 10, 2010
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