Markowsky Quoted in Scientific American Article on Pulsating Stars, Golden Ratio

George Markowsky, a mathematician and computer science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Scientific American article about how astronomers have discovered variable stars that periodically dim and brighten at frequencies close to the golden ratio. The golden ration is the irrational number 0.61803398875, known as the Greek letter phi, according to the article. The connection between the golden ratio and the stars could be meaningful or it could be a fluke, the article states. “Many claims about natural phenomena and the golden ratio are exaggerated,” Markowsky said. “I refuse to accept anything off by 2 percent or more as evidence of the golden ratio. After all, around any real number there are infinitely many other real numbers. People don’t seem to write papers about the mystic properties of .6 (which is very close to .618….).”