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Serendipity in Proportion

Human Proportions for Artists (2005) perhaps is a book unknown to most of you. I happened to find it by accident....I accidently leaned against it in a bookstore while purchasing some other mathematical books.

Though designed for artists and art students, the book also will be of interest to mathematics teachers and their students. In its discussion of human proportions, the text overflows with illustrations and tables replete with about 120 different human measurements of the male/female figure. On seeing this data, thoughts of the Golden Proportion, Le Corbusier, and his "Red/Blue series" danced in my head. I quickly browsed through the book. Data Jackpot! Data Gold Mine!

In addition to the data, the authors give attention to fascinating ideas such as symmetry (spherical, radial, bilateral, rotational, multilateral, segmental, and dynamic), balance, rythm, and the geometry of simple forms (2-D and 3-D). Two unusual chapters were "Comparative and Relative Proportions" and "Arches and Their Significance in the Human Body."

And the biggest surprise...to discover that the one author of the book (Eugene Fairbanks, a medical doctor) lives less than ten miles from my university! The other author (Avard Fairbanks, artist/sculptor) is deceased.