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LEARNING.SOHU.COM    2004年7月7日10:42  
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  Question of the Month: Is Beauty No More Than A Matter of Math?

  每月一问: 美,可有定律?

  Picture the most beautiful face you have ever seen. Then ask yourself what it is about that face that makes it so lovely. That question may be difficult to answer. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But is it possible to explain the beauty of a human face using math?

  According to many scholars throughout history, the answer could be yes. Most very attractive faces have proportions1 consistent2 with what is known as the “golden ratio.” This ratio can best be understood by thinking of it as a rectangle. In a golden rectangle, the long side is 1.618 times longer than the short side. Therefore, the value of the golden ratio is equal to 1.618. The proportions of the golden rectangle are thought to reflect3 perfect symmetry. If we frame4 a gorgeous5 face inside of a golden rectangle, the dimensions of each will correspond6 perfectly. The face is beautiful because it is symmetrical.


   根据历代许多学者的看法,答案可能是肯定的。大多数迷人的脸型比例与人们所知的“黄金比例”相符。最容易理解这一比例的方式,就是把它想成一个矩型。一个黄金矩型的长是宽的 1.618 倍。因此,黄金比例的数值即等于 1.618。有人认为黄金矩型的比例反映出完美的对称。如果我们将一张好看的脸放在黄金矩型的框框里,脸与矩型的长宽比例将会完全契合。这张脸美丽的原因就在于它很匀称。


  1. proportions n. pl. the size and/or shape of sth. 形状;形体大小

  The proportions of Titanic were greater than those of any ship built before.


  2. consistent adj. being in agreement with sth. else 一致;相符

  Bill felt his salary wasn’t consistent with how hard he worked, so he asked his boss for a raise.


  3. reflect v. to make sth. apparent 表现;反映

  The government’s actions do not reflect the wishes of most citizens.


  4. frame v. to enclose sth. in a structure that forms borders 给 … 加框

  Brian loved my painting, so he framed it and hung it on the wall in his living room.


  5. gorgeous adj. extremely beautiful 非常漂亮的;好看的

  Because she was rich, gorgeous, and single, Hana Jones received a lot of attention from men.


  ● 6. correspond v. to be alike or similar 与 … 一致;符合

  If your signature on the check corresponds to the signature in your passport, the bank will cash the check.


  More Information

   1. beauty is in the eye of the beholder saying 情人眼里出西施(behold 为动词,意指观看,beholder 意为观看者)

   2. ratio n. 比例 (文中的 golden ratio 为黄金比例,golden rectangle 则为黄金矩形;the value of the golden ratio 中的 value 意思为“数值”)

   3. rectangle n. 矩形;长方形

   4. symmetry n. 对称;均衡(symmetrical 为形容词,意指对称的、相称的)

   5. dimensions n. pl. (长、宽、高的)尺寸(文中的 the dimensions of each 指的是一张脸及一个黄金矩形的尺寸)

  Amazingly, the golden ratio is found in many manifestations of beauty—not just in beautiful faces. The dimensions of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt conform to the golden ratio. And the famous Greek Parthenon contains1 many golden rectangles. Moreover, the famous fifteenth-century Italian artist, Leonardo da Vinci, deliberately2 used the golden ratio in his paintings. Not surprisingly, the face of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa matches the golden rectangle.

  The golden ratio is found not only in great art and architecture, but also in nature. For example, the spiral shape of a seashell has the symmetry of a golden spiral, another derivation of the golden ratio. This seemingly3 magical quantity4 is evident5 in all that is pleasing to the human eye. However, no one has ever discovered why. Perhaps we should take comfort in the knowledge that in life, there are still some mysteries.6




  ● 1. contain v. to hold sth. within certain limits 包含;含有

  These notebooks contain everything you’ll need to know to pass the final exam.


  ● 2. deliberately adv. for an intended purpose 刻意地;蓄意地

  Someone deliberately set the fire that destroyed the shopping mall.


  3. seemingly adv. appearing to be true; apparently 看似;看起来好像

  As I was petting the seemingly friendly dog, it bit me on the leg!


  4. quantity n. sth. that can be expressed as a number (数学)表示量的数值

  Anyone who has ever studied geometry knows the importance of the quantity known as “pi” (π).


  ● 5. evident adj. easy to see or understand 明显的;显然的

  Based on the amount of water in the streets, it is evident that the typhoon was the biggest one in years.


  6. mystery n. sth. that cannot be explained 神秘的事;难以理解的事

  What happens to people after they die has always been a mystery.


  More Information

   1. manifestation n. 例证;显明

   2. conform to v. phr. 合乎;与 … 一致

   3. architecture n. 建筑风格;建筑样式

   4. spiral adj. 螺旋型的 (文中的 golden spiral 即为黄金螺旋型)

   5. derivation n. 另外衍生出的形式;衍生物


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