Golden Spiral

Published: August 16, 2020
by Charles Busada
A foraminifera, a microscopic shelled unicellular organism with a spiral pattern.

Nature loves logarithmic spirals and so do I. Back in my junior year of high school, I had a fabulous earth-science teacher who taught us how to do scientific research on foraminifera growing around heat “enrichment” zones from power plants in the Northern Shore of Long Island, NY. We even published. But the beauty of the foraminifera was stunning. These were microscopic shelled unicellular organisms.

And, from sunflowers, seashells, and whirlpools, to hurricanes and giant spiral galaxies, the Creator stamps his signet ring upon his vast and cavernous works. The constant shape of the logarithmic spiral on all size scales reveals itself beautifully in nature in the shapes of minuscule fossils and, I’m sure much smaller if we look. “Although the spiral shells of the foraminifera are composite structures (and not one continuous tube), X-ray images of the internal structure of these fossils show that the shape of the logarithmic spiral remained essentially unchanged for millions of years.” (M Livio, The Golden Ratio: The story of Phi, the world’s most Astonishing Number).

Then there are galaxies and we are familiar with many beautiful Hubble photographs of them, but just lately I came upon this. It is not a galaxy, but a distant star in our galaxy that is spinning off its own solar system in a golden spiral.


A distant star in our galaxy twisting in a spiral pattern

And then, there is this. Boss Designs does wonderful work with designs for children’s museums and we were thrilled when they wanted a golden spiral to link their honey-bee exhibit. So, brushing up on the old Fibonacci sequence we got down to it. The trick was in the coupling, but we know that trick and so on we went.


The honey been exhibit in a children's museum featuring large plastic trees with tubing spirals running through them.

It helps that we now have the capability to bend tubes in excess of 20′ and we are excited about all of the possibilities ahead of us.


A long tube bend for the golden spiral

Other Helpful Resources

Share This