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Science

Golden Ratio Discovered In a Quantum World 191

Posted by Soulskill
from the nanites-are-excellent-architects dept.
FiReaNGeL writes "Scientists have for the first time observed a nanoscale symmetry hidden in solid state matter. 'In order to study these nanoscale quantum effects, the researchers have focused on the magnetic material cobalt niobate. It consists of linked magnetic atoms, which form chains just like a very thin bar magnet, but only one atom wide.' By artificially introducing more quantum uncertainty, the researchers observed that the chain acts like a nanoscale guitar string. The first two notes show a perfect relationship with each other. Their frequencies (pitch) are in the ratio of 1.618, which is the golden ratio famous from art and architecture. The observed resonant states in cobalt niobate are a dramatic laboratory illustration of the way in which mathematical theories developed for particle physics may find application in nanoscale science and ultimately in future technology."
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Golden Ratio Discovered In a Quantum World

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 09, 2010 @01:10AM (#30704818)

    Announcer: Where's Mathman?
    Mr. Glitch: Uh... He's in the mathroom.

  • by Grumbleduke (789126) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @01:56AM (#30705062) Journal

    Mod me troll, but this sort of thing really annoys me

    The golden ratio is found everywhere in nature even to the quantum level. It is also the most pleasing ratio to the human eye.

    It would be highly improbable for a random universe to create this sort of symmetry.

    To believe in a random universe requires a lot more mental gymnastics to reconcile the observed universe with that world view.

    Or it could just be that the ratio comes from a very simple geometrical idea and a pretty basic equation.

    Next you'll be suggesting that the fact that so many things in the universe seem to be approximately spherical is evidence of a divine being.

    Oh, and just because something is improbable, doesn't mean that it can't happen. As for it being "most pleasing to the human eye", personally, I prefer the 1:1 ratio; squares have more symmetry than rectangles. Does that make me inhuman? The golden ratio looks quite nice, and is mathematically a bit interesting, but that doesn't make it magical.

  • by frakir (760204) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {rozarmahkco}> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @01:58AM (#30705066)

    This is not a 'high form of symmetry' but very basic one; a solution to a very rudimentary quadratic equation. I, for one am surprised we're not seeing such solutions more often around us.
    Here's why: every semi-dynamic system tends to find a local energy minimum, which needs to be stable. A quadratic equation has always a stable minimum or it doesn't have a minimum. Well... that's all, nothing more to see here for me.

  • by grimdawg (954902) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @02:00AM (#30705074)
    If the bodies of most organisms are anything to go by, evolution loves symmetry. The universe isn't random, it obeys rules, and when you combine random effects with structured rules you fairly often get to see patterns. Perhaps a better explanation: "The golden ratio is found everywhere in nature even to the quantum level. It is THEREFORE the most pleasing ratio to the human eye. It would be highly PROBABLE for a random universe, GOVERNED BY PHYSICAL LAWS, to create this sort of symmetry."
  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @02:00AM (#30705078)

    Although I agree that in this context 'redundant' was a lame mod. However, 'redundant' doesn't mean "already posted in this thread". I know I'm being pedantic, and I apologize for that, but we see so many memes here that I cannot believe anybody would still be confused about what 'redundant' means. A first post in a thread about Nexus One that says "why doesn't Google just make a phone that is just a phone without all the bells and whistles?!?!" is 'redundant'.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @02:01AM (#30705084) Journal

    The golden ratio is found everywhere in nature even to the quantum level. It is also the most pleasing ratio to the human eye.
    It would be highly improbable for a random universe to create this sort of symmetry.

    To believe in a random universe requires a lot more mental gymnastics to reconcile the observed universe with that world view.

    Which is more likely:
    A) The human eye finds the golden ratio pleasing because it is everywhere in nature
    B) the golden ratio is everwhere in nature because it is pleasing to the human eye

    It's okay to say "I don't know."
    You don't have to fill in all the gaps with "God"

  • Re:Summary wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 09, 2010 @02:21AM (#30705180)

    if you ask me the deity that needs to constantly fiddle with the universe to make things go its way isn't very intelligent after all. a real show of intelligence would be to interact as little as possible and yet have the universe with its simple, derivable nature inexorably lead toward whatever said deity had in mind.

  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @02:39AM (#30705252)

    Take the typical state lotto. If you knew all of the variables in the machine that draws the numbers, you can solve for which numbers will land in the winning numbers area.

    Ummmm....yeah...I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there. Most of those machines blow ping-pong balls around with air, which is most likely turbulent, and they are blown up into the slots when the lottery lady pulls the lever for the slot. Since, at a minimum, you can't solve for the state of the lottery lady, you can't "solve for which numbers will land in the winning numbers area."

    (Never mind the outrageous accuracy of initial conditions and precision of the calculations you'd need to solve for the movement of ~4 dozen ping-pong balls being blown around by turbulent air.)

  • MODS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) * on Saturday January 09, 2010 @03:57AM (#30705602) Journal
    Offtopic??? - I have points but have already commented elsewhere.
  • by someone1234 (830754) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @04:39AM (#30705754)

    It's turtles all the way down.

  • Re:Summary wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @08:30AM (#30706600) Journal

    That's pretty much how the Anglican Church came to grips with evolution. Regrettably, many other religions are highly offended by the concept of a more competent god.

    -jcr

  • Re:Summary wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @02:11PM (#30708464) Homepage Journal

    At this point in the discussion there is a need to remind everyone that this level of physics is appropriate to describing models of the Universe. But, as pointed out by the luminaries who formulated the Copenhagen convention, the Universe is not the model, and the human mind is fundamentally incapable of comprehending how the models we construct differ from the Universe.

    Not only do we not know what is really going on, we cannot possibly ever know that; it is one of the limitations that make us humans rather than gods. But we can make models that are fun to play with, and sometimes lead to new insights. Or even new gadgets, like computers, the Internet, slashdot...

    I can't believe I used to think that what I thought was happening was really going on --The Sugar Beets

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