The Irrational Number Phi

This number is also known as the Golden Ratio. It's approximately equal to 1.618 and it is written as a Greek letter, just like Pi.

Phi looks like this: φ

Pi looks like this: π

In fact, they're both Greek letters, but this page is about the irrational number Phi! What's so interesting about this number? Squaring this special number is same as adding 1 to it! 1 divided by this number or raising it to the power of -1 is the same as subtracting 1 from it!

φ + 1 = φ2

1/φ = φ-1 = φ - 1

However, if Phi is negative...

1/-φ = (-φ)-1 = -φ + 1

This unique number is the intersection of these 2 functions:

Y = X2

Y = X + 1

Actually, these functions intersect twice; but at each intersection, X = -φ + 1 or φ. Here's how Phi looks as an algebraic fraction:

The sum of 1 & the square root of 5 divided by 2


One more fact about Phi: φx = φx-1 + φx-2. Also, φx = φx+2 - φx+1.

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© Derek Cumberbatch