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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 LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday January 09, 2010 @12:54AM (#30704676)

    1, 1, 2, 3, 5, Eureka!

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday January 09, 2010 @12:56AM (#30704698)
    Since we know Google is never wrong [lmgtfy.com], the Golden Ratio is exactly 1.61803399, not 1.618 as stated in the summary.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kira-Baka (463765)

      It's an irrational number...

  • High-end ben-wah balls that reverberate to the sound of money?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      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 and are a useful model for describing ferromagnetism on the nanoscale in solid state matter.

      Our computer memory technologies are largely based on understanding magnetizable materials at a very short length scale. The next logical step is to understand various phenomena of these materials at the nanoscale which is exactly wha

      • Given the way the U.S. of A. works, I would not be surprised to see first use in the strip on people's credit cards in order to store your last 10,000 purchases. Coupled with an RFID chip, this would enable targeted advertising as you walked down the street...and voila! We have Blade Runner.

        Sans exotic feminine androids, of course; we always seem to get the bad out of Sci-Fi first.

        (Don't forget to mod me off-topic, fellas.)

  • More for the spankbanks of all the readers of Dan Brown novels who truly believe Mary Magdalene is buried beneath the Louvre.
  • Oh cripes (Score:4, Funny)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @01:21AM (#30704878) Homepage Journal

    Its got the number of the beast in it [wolframalpha.com]. Quick, ring Robert Heinlein [wikipedia.org].

  • by Grumbleduke (789126) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @01:25AM (#30704892) Journal

    ...the golden ratio famous from art and architecture...

    As a (former) mathematician, I would like to point out that the ratio really comes from elementary (pun intended; read on to find out more) geometry. The ancient Greeks played around with it quite a lot and Euclid mentioned it (more or less) in his Elements [clarku.edu]. The Greeks weren't interested in this because of art or how pretty it was, but because they were particularly crazy about geometry (nearly all of their mathematics was derived from it) and some seemed to think that the universe could be understood through geometry alone. Anyway, it is just the fairly simple ratio of lengths of two lines such that the ratio between the larger and the smaller is the same as the ratio of them both added and the larger, or algebraically;

    (a + b)/a = a / b = phi

    This can then be trivially rearranged into phi^2 - phi - 1 = 0, and then that has the one positive solution; phi = [1 + sqrt(5)]/2 (the negative solution being [1 - sqrt(5)]/2 = - 0.618... but negative lengths and ratios tend to prove problematic). As usual, Wikipedia has more information. [wikipedia.org]

    While it is quite interesting to see it appear in a quantum mechanical setting, it isn't particularly shocking (to me). The number is the result of a fairly simple equation (as shown above) which is why it seems to appear so frequently in nature. While I didn't get this far in my studies of quantum theories, it wouldn't surprise me if, once the mathematicians have a chance to look into this, the reason behind this appearance of phi is found to be rather trivial.

    However, I am not a physicist, or an expert in this field, so I may be completely wrong.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      As a (former) mathematician

      How do you stop being a mathematician? (you don't seem to have stopped).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Grumbleduke (789126)

        How do you stop being a mathematician? (you don't seem to have stopped).

        By being forced to graduate from university and getting caught up in politics [pp-international.net] and law [pirateparty.org.uk]. It must be at least 3 months since I did any proper maths (and the stuff above doesn't count - any suitably well-taught 8 year-old should be able to derive the answer; and it is all on Wikipedia anyway). But still, I guess one never quite recovers from spending 5+ years almost entirely devoted to the subject...

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          How do you stop being a mathematician? (you don't seem to have stopped).

          By being forced to graduate from university and getting caught up in politics [pp-international.net] and law [pirateparty.org.uk]. It must be at least 3 months since I did any proper maths (and the stuff above doesn't count - any suitably well-taught 8 year-old should be able to derive the answer; and it is all on Wikipedia anyway). But still, I guess one never quite recovers from spending 5+ years almost entirely devoted to the subject...

          Wish people would stop fussing that college actually makes them learn things outside their field of study.
          If you get through college and don't understand why they made you take those classes you missed the point of college and need to go back because you still have a LOT more to learn about the world.

    • by MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @03:40AM (#30705532)

      While it is quite interesting to see it appear in a quantum mechanical setting, it isn't particularly shocking (to me). The number is the result of a fairly simple equation (as shown above) which is why it seems to appear so frequently in nature. While I didn't get this far in my studies of quantum theories, it wouldn't surprise me if, once the mathematicians have a chance to look into this, the reason behind this appearance of phi is found to be rather trivial.

      Yes, it's more the other way around really. The fact that the ratio between the first two frequencies measured in the spectrum was the Golden Ratio (within error), was evidence that the state had E8 symmetry, for group-theoretical reasons I can't quite explain. (I'm kind of in the opposite situation; I know QM but Group Theory was never my strongest point)

      This is interesting because E8 isn't a symmetry many real physical systems have. But it's of interest for string theorists and other advanced theories, so it's interesting if they can find systems that can act as a model. The 'real' system here doesn't have E8 symmetry either. Rather it's a system of quasiparticles [wikipedia.org] created by the spins of the system which is E8, when exposed to a magnetic field at a certain critical phase-change point.

      Which is why the title of the Science article calls it "emergent E8 symmetry".

      • by fritsd (924429)
        This seeems like a nice point to hang the link to the E8 symmetry page of wikipedia: E8 [wikipedia.org].
        I found it awe-inspiring because it's completely beyond me :-).
  • Maybe what we can see is just the surface of a deeper reality, and below that something deeper again, etc. etc.. So this appearance of a golden ratio is actually an artefact of a continued fraction i.e. 1 + 1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(.....

  • by Mal-2 (675116) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @03:17AM (#30705432) Homepage Journal

    For those of you that want to hear what this ratios sounds like, it's 833 cents [mal-2.com], or a minor sixth plus 33 cents. This happens to be the interval used to form the aptly named Bohlen 833 cents (or A12) scale. [wikipedia.org]

    Mal-2

  • Constant (Score:4, Funny)

    by Exception Duck (1524809) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @07:35AM (#30706402) Homepage Journal

    You'll probably find this line in the computer program that runs version 5 of "Life, the Universe and Everything"

    public const float seed = 1.618f;

  • note that golden ratio is found in many celebrated works of art. a lot of artists in history used it knowingly in their masterpieces. such pieces of art are known to appeal to human's liking more. liking, appreciation, all subjective concepts. human psyche is something we havent been able to approach with any tangible, usable definite method up to this date.

    now we find this ration in quantum mechanics.

    this is practically the first solid link in between something that is numeric, defined and clear cut and hu

    • by Omestes (471991)

      note that pi is found in many celebrated works of art. a lot of artists in history used it knowingly in their masterpieces. such pieces of art are known to appeal to human's liking more. liking, appreciation, all subjective concepts. human psyche is something we havent been able to approach with any tangible, usable definite method up to this date.

      now we find this ration in quantum mechanics.

      this is practically the first solid link in between something that is numeric, defined and clear cut and human psyche.

      FTFY.

  • The first artificial signal we've received via a medium we're only just discovering, perhaps? :)

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