Maths can explain what makes something beautiful or pleasing to the eyes Image Credit: Stock photo/Pixabay

Mathematics – it’s a word that has the ability to get schoolchildren (and many adults) quivering in their shoes. But those who love the subject find there’s a certain grace and harmony in its many secrets.

Click start to play the Weekend Crossword, which explores colourful maths terminology.

Maths is everywhere – in every angle of every building, in every medicine ever discovered, and in every flower that ever bloomed. Without it, all other disciplines would fall short – there could be no science, computers, or business. Even the culinary arts would suffer.

Maths can even explain what makes something beautiful or pleasing to the eyes. The golden ratio, which has a constant value of 1.618, is the algorithm for perfect symmetry. If beauty had a number, this would be it. It’s found everywhere – in plants, flowers, animals, snowflakes, a brewing storm, and even in human faces.

The golden ratio can be used to measure beauty (at least in the ancient Greeks’ ideal sense) by considering the proportions of the face. A person would be considered to be beautiful if their face was perfectly symmetrical – about one and a half times longer than it is wide. The same ratio would be applied to the eyes, nose, and other facial features.

In 2019, British celebrity plastic surgeon Dr Julian De Silva used the formula to analyse celebrity faces and found that American model Bella Hadid was the most beautiful woman in the world. Her facial proportions matched the golden ratio by 94.35 per cent. American singer Beyonce came second!

Artists like Michelangelo and Botticelli have been using the ratio since the Renaissance to direct their masterpieces. Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci used the golden ratio in various projects, including to map out the features of his acclaimed painting, the Mona Lisa.

What’s the most fascinating aspect of maths, for you? Play the Weekend Crossword and tell us at