While debunking myths about Fibonacci numbers and the golden ratio in “Cracking The Da Vinci Code” (page 64), Stanford University mathematician Keith Devlin discovered he had been laboring under some misconceptions of his own. He had often told lecture audiences that the ancient Greeks relied on the golden ratio when they built the Parthenon. “That turns out to be not true,” he says. A regular on National Public Radio, the British-born Devlin has been writing about mathematics since 1983. His 23 books include The Math Gene and The Millennium Problems.
Courtesy of Camilla Louise Lyons, M.D.
As a recent graduate of the medical school at Tulane University, Max Aguilera-Hellweg was the ideal person to photograph vestigial organs for “Useless Body Parts” (page 42). Now 48, he made his living as a photojournalist before setting out to become a doctor. In July he will begin a yearlong internship at the University of Massachusetts at Worcester. Meanwhile, he has kept up his photography, with pictures appearing in Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker, Texas Monthly, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine.
Cynthia Mills, an itinerant author with a degree in veterinary medicine, has traveled the world working on various spay and neuter projects—her way of helping control cat and dog populations in a humane way. On Rarotonga, one of the Cook Islands, she discovered short-legged dogs and became interested in their genetic history (“Dogs of Rarotonga,” page 70). “I started to see that it wasn’t some freakish thing that the Europeans decided to do,” she says. Her book The Theory of Evolution: What It Is, Where It Came From, and Why It Works, will appear this summer.
Courtesy of Narelle Autio
Sydney-based photographer Trent Parke also traveled to the Cook Islands to shoot “Dogs of Rarotonga.” He was impressed with the veterinary medicine. The local animal clinic there was like “a mini M*A*S*H unit,” he says. “The conditions were so sparse—the doctor performed operations under a single lightbulb, in very hot and humid conditions.”