Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Beauty Math

What do great scientists and eternal beauties have in common?

Mathematics of course!

Scientists, architects and mathematicians have shared the numbers with the greatest of beauties, artists & musicians! May it be the golden ratio, the Body Mass Index (BMI) or the Waist-Hip ratio…appearance is ruled by numbers!

Sounds quite unaesthetic right?

Well…Marylin Monroe, Sophia Loren, Madhubala, Nutan….they all are a part of a few stunning equations and endless charm! Here are a few…

Golden ratio: Two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio between the sum of those quantities and the larger one is the same as the ratio between the larger one and the smaller. The golden ratio is approximately 1.6180339887.

Mona Lisa, for example, employs the golden ratio in its geometric equivalents. So, more of a 1.6 ratio your face achieves, more beautiful your are thought to be.

The Body Mass Index (BMI): The proportion of the body mass of the person to the body structure indicates the BMI which has a big place in the perception of beauty.
In other words ‘your weight divided by the square of your height is your BMI’.

BMI has been used by the WHO as the standard for recording obesity statistics since the early 1980s.
 However the optimum BMI differs from region to region.
In the US the chart is as follows:

BMI range - kg/m2

less than 15

from 15 to 18.5

from 18.5 to 25

from 25 to 30

from 30 to 40

Morbidly Obese
greater than 40

Last I checked I was 28. Might have crossed 30 by now  :(:(

In Singapore 18.5 to 22.9 is normal.

The Western ideal considers a slim and slender body mass as optimal while many historic cultures consider a rounded and plump body-mass as appealing.

Waist-Hip Ratio: The waist-hip ratio (WHR) of women is very strongly correlated to attractiveness across all cultures. Women with a 0.7 WHR (waist circumference that is 70% of the hip circumference) are usually rated as more attractive by men from European cultures. Marilyn Monroe had a WHR of 0.7. Different countries find different numbers appealing –
0.6 in China,
0.8 or 0.9 in parts of South America and Africa etc.

Body fat percentage (Fat mass vs. lean body mass), Basal metabolic rate BMR (the amount of energy expended while at rest) and Skeletal Muscle percentage are few of the other equations that make or break our appearance in the eye of the beholder. 

Some of the regular ideal proportions amaze us:

  • Ideal height is eight heads (yes our very own head) tall.
  • The arms' wingspan (measured from the tips of the middle fingers) is about equal to the body height.
  • The eyes are right in the middle of the face.
  • The head can be equally divided at forehead, nose & chin.
  • Eyes are separated with width of one eye.
  • The bottom of the nose to the corner of the eye is equal to the height of the ear.
  • The width of the base of the nose is equal to the width of the eye.
 But wait. Before you go number crunching, there is one thing you must never let out of your sight. Digits are fine but what no math can do is make you look up, walk tall and radiate with confidence. And that is exactly what they mean by ‘inner beauty’. The kind of person you are, shows through straight 'n' clear and makes up for the charm part of the answer. That is one equation you can't set right (no formula or face cream will help) unless you are willing.

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