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# Pythagorean Golden Means

##### Age 16 to 18Challenge Level

Freddie Manners, age 11 from Packwood Haugh School, Shropshire sent in the following beautiful solution. Freddie asks Is this relationship to the Golden Ratio coincidental?'' The answer is probably not. Mathematics if full of connections which at first seem surprising. The question involves the sides of a right-angled triangle, the cube of the Golden Ratio $\varphi = {1\over 2}(1+\sqrt{5})$, and the arithmetic, geometric and harmonic means of two number (AM, GM and HM respectively). Firstly Freddie found the cube of $\varphi = {1\over 2}(1+\sqrt{5})$.

$$\begin{eqnarray} \varphi^2 &=& {1\over 4}(5+2\sqrt{5}+1) \\ \varphi^3 &=& {1\over 8}(1 + \sqrt {5})(6 + 2\sqrt{5}) \\ &=& {1\over 8}(16 + 8\sqrt{5}) \\ &=& 2 + \sqrt{5}. \end{eqnarray}$$

Take any two numbers $a$ and $b$, where $0< b< a$. Because the AM is the largest we have

$$\begin{eqnarray} \left({(a+b)\over 2}\right)^2 &=& ab + {1\over {\left({1\over 2}({1\over a}+{1\over b})\right)^2}} \\ &=& ab + {(2ab)^2\over (a+b)^2 } \\ {(2ab)^2\over (a+b)^2} &=& \left({(a+b)\over 2}\right)^2 - ab \\ &=& \left({(a-b)\over 2}\right) ^2 \\ {2ab \over (a+b)} &=& {(a- b)\over 2} \\ 4ab &=& a^2 - b^2 \\ {4a\over b} &=& \left({a\over b}\right)^2 - 1 . \end{eqnarray}$$

Let the ratio $a/b = x$ then

$$\begin{eqnarray} 4x &=& x^2 -1 \\ x^2 - 4x -1 &=& 0 \\ x &=& 2 \pm \sqrt 5 \end{eqnarray}$$

As $\sqrt 5 > 2$ the solution $2-\sqrt5$ would give a minus number.

So $a/b = 2 + \sqrt5 = \varphi^3$ and $a=b\varphi^3.$