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For centuries, artists, philosophers and mathematicians have noted the special properties of the so-called "golden rectangle," where if you take away a square, another golden rectangle remains, on and on infinitely. The human eye is drawn to those proportions, and they are evident everywhere from the facade of the Parthenon to a modern credit card. Yet an explanation of exactly why this pattern is so pleasing to us has been elusive. We talk with one professor who explains it with physics and explore the science of good design.
The golden ratio appears again and again in art, architecture, nature and everyday objects. Modern television sets, index cards, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Taj Mahal and Salvador Dali's "The Sacrament of the Last Supper" are all examples. See some of the most common -- and most beloved -- forms of the so-called "magic proportion."