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Filler Christmas 2009: Filler

George Clooney, the cauliflower, the cardiologist, and phi, the golden ratio

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 14 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4745
  1. Hanno Ulmer, medical statistician12,
  2. Cecily C Kelleher, public health physician3,
  3. Martin W Dünser, intensivist4
  1. 1Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Schoepfstrasse 41, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  2. 2Agency for Preventive and Social Medicine, Bregenz, Austria
  3. 3School of Public Health and Population Sciences, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Inselspital Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to: H Ulmer hanno.ulmer{at}

    The challenge for scientists of all disciplines is to discern basic patterns and laws of nature that can be described mathematically—all this in a universe generated apparently from chaos and influenced by random events.

    The “golden ratio” is one such phenomenon and has been known to mathematicians since ancient times. Two quantities are in the golden ratio when the ratio between their sum and the larger one is the same as the ratio between the larger one and the smaller. The Italian mathematician Leonardo Pisano, often known as Fibonacci, discovered the sequence (which was named after him) from which phi (Φ), the golden ratio, can …

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