Only To Have A Zoologist

05/19/2014
Where the golden ratio, mathematical imagination, and physical reality meet.

penrose-tiles

“Given that Fibonacci seems to appear everywhere in nature—from pineapples to rabbit populations—it was all the more odd that the ratio was fundamental to a tiling system that appeared to have nothing to do with the physical world. Penrose had created a mathematical novelty, something intriguing precisely because it didn’t seem to work the way nature does. It was as if he wrote a work of fiction about a new animal species, only to have a zoologist discover that very species living on Earth. In fact, Penrose tiles bridged the golden ratio, the math we invent, and the math in the world around us.”

from Nautilus Magazine, “Impossible Cookware and Other Triumphs of the Penrose Tile”