Investigating Beauty with the Golden Ratio

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Updated on Mar 12, 2014

Two irrational numbers (approximately 0.618 and 1.618), are often referred to as the “golden ratio.” These two numbers possess many intriguing properties. For example, shapes that adhere to the golden ratio have long been considered to be aesthetically pleasing. This experiment will investigate whether the golden ratio can be used to predict peoples’ assessment of beauty in others.


Do test subjects consider celebrities with facial measurements that come closest to the golden ratio to be the most attractive?


  • Images of well-known celebrities
  • Ruler
  • Calculator
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Notebook for analyzing results


  1. Perform an online search for images of famous people. Include celebrities that you find attractive and celebrities that you find unattractive.
  2. Enlarge the images so that you have a clear view of the front of the celebrity’s face, and print your images.
  3. Measure and record the following aspects of each person’s face, to the nearest tenth of a centimeter: (A) Top of the head to the chin; (B)Top of the head to the pupil; (C) Pupil to the tip of the nose; (D) Pupil to the lip; (E) Width of the nose; (F) Outside distance between the eyes; (G) Width of the head; (H) Hairline to the pupil; (I) Tip of the nose to the chin; (J) Lips to the chin; (K) Length of the lips; (L) Tip of the nose to the lips
  4. Calculate the following ratios for each celebrity:
    • A/G
    • B/D
    • I/J
    • I/C
    • E/L
    • F/H
    • K/E
  5. Create a survey that evaluates the attractiveness of each celebrity image on a scale of 1 to 10.
  6. Show 20+ test subjects your images and ask them to take the survey.
  7. Evaluate your results. Based on your calculations, which celebrity images came closest to being “golden”? Did these celebrities receive the highest rankings for attractiveness in the surveys taken by your test subjects?

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