Mathematics could be our way of explaining the chaotic world around us with a system of numbers. Many mathematical concepts are abundant in nature. During the European Renaissance, maths (and music) was called perfect arts. Plants, and all other forms of life, have evolved through adapting to their surroundings. Sunflowers, for instance, face the sun by way of a special growth-regulator on the shady side of the plant that causes it to grow faster than the sunny side, causing the plant to bend. This is a product of millenia of evolution. Take another look at a sunflower; take a closer look at the flower itself. Notice how tightly-packed the seeds are in the center of the flower? One could easily assume that this is another product of perfection through evolution; the flower packing its seeds in neat spirals emanating from the center. But, that isn’t the case. It’s an example of the Fibonacci Series appearing in nature. Examining flowers for instance, note that most daisies have 34, 55 or 89 petals. Those numbers should be familiar; they are the 9th, 10th, and 11thFibonacci Numbers. If you have ever wondered why four-leaf clovers are so rare, it’s because four isn’t a Fibonacci number.
Leonardo Fibonacci was born around 1170 to Guglielmo Fibonacci, a wealthy Italian merchant. Guglielmo directed a trading post (by some accounts he was the consultant for Pisa) in Bugia, a port east of Algiers in the Almohad dynasty’s sultanate in North Africa (now Bejaia, Algeria). As a young boy, Leonardo traveled with him to help; it was there he learned about the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. Recognizing that arithmetic with Hindu-Arabic numerals is simpler and more efficient than with Roman numerals, Fibonacci traveled throughout the Mediterranean world to study under the leading Arab mathematicians of the time. Leonardo returned from his travels around 1200. In 1202, at age 32, he published what he had learned in Liber Abaci (Book of Abacus or Book of Calculation), and thereby popularized Hindu-Arabic numerals in Europe. Leonardo became an amicable guest of the Emperor Frederick II, who enjoyed mathematics and science. In 1240 the Republic of Pisa honored Leonardo, referred to as Leonardo Bigollo, by granting him a salary. In the 19th century, a statue of Fibonacci was constructed and erected in Pisa. Today it is located in the western gallery of the Camposanto, historical cemetery on the Piazza dei Miracoli.
I was surprised to discover that Keith had never seen a sunflower close up, so I planted some in the garden this year, they really are amazing.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 Feb. 2011 Southland New Zealand
I DEDICATE THIS SUNFLOWER TO MY HUBBY KEITH, HAPPY BIRTHDAY