Have you ever heard of the Golden Mean?

English: Uppercase and lowercase Greek letter ...

Uppercase and lowercase Greek letter phi, the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is also sometimes called the Golden Ratio.

It is a line divided at the point where the ratio of the smaller part to the larger part is the same as the larger part to the whole.

It is close to the 2/3 point on the line.

Like pi, it is a constant, so it is always about 1.618.

And, like pi, its value to the right of the decimal point continues, without the digits repeating a pattern.

It is called phi, and is also written as the Greek letter.

How can you see it?


  • Belly buttons
  • Yardstick or measuring tape
  • Pencil or pen
  • Paper
  • Calculator or the ability to do long division


  • Measure the distance from the floor to your grandchild’s belly button
  • Measure the distance from the floor to your belly button
  • Measure your grandchild’s height
  • Measure your height
  • Divide your grandchild’s height by the distance to their belly button
  • Divide your height by the distance to your belly button

What Should Happen?

The ratio between the height of your belly button from the floor and your height should be about 1.618.

For us, it was close.

  • Height to my grandson’s belly button: 30.5 inches
  • My grandson’s height: 49.5 inches
  • Divide second, or larger, number by first: 1.6220
  • Height to Grandma’s belly button: 39 inches
  • Grandma’s height: 64.5 inches
  • Divide second, or larger number by first: 1.6538

How Is Phi Used?

Phi is used in mathematics, architecture and sculpture.

It is said to have been used in the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza, in Egypt.

The ratio of the height of the pyramid to the size of its base is phi.

The Parthenon in Greece, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Taj Mahal in India and the United Nations Building in New York City all have used the Golden Mean in their designs, for its pleasing proportions.

This post first appeared on grandmotherdiaries.com


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, Who Gets to Name Grandma?


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