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Museum's Alleged Math Error Caught by Teen Computes

Joseph Rosenfeld of Virginia was visiting Boston's Museum of Science on a family trip



    Museum's Alleged Math Error Caught by Teen Computes
    FILE - Getty Images
    A box of calculators.

    A 15-year-old high school student visiting Boston's Museum of Science thought he uncovered a math error in the golden ratio at a 34-year-old exhibit.

    Virginia resident Joseph Rosenfeld was visiting the museum on a recent family trip when he thought he saw something that appeared wrong with the equation: minus signs where there should have been plus signs.

    Rosenfeld notified the museum and later received a letter from its exhibit content developer, Alana Parkes, agreeing with his discovery and informing him the equation would be corrected.

    Parkes wrote that the mistake had been there for a "very long time" without being noticed.

    But much like the golden ratio is recognized by many names — divine proportion, golden mean and golden section — its formula is also represented in more than one template.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Museum of Science spokeswoman Erin Shannon released a statement correcting the correction, noting "the way the Museum presents the Golden Ratio in its exhibit is in fact the less common — but no less accurate — way to present it.” 

    “It’s exciting that people around the country are talking about math and science and that, in the process, we learned something too,” the statement read.