Discovery of the Fibonacci Sequence

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  • Topic: Fibonacci number, Golden ratio, Fibonacci
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  • Published : May 3, 2005
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The Discovery of the Fibonacci Sequence

A man named Leonardo Pisano, who was known by his nickname, "Fibonacci", and named the series after himself, first discovered the Fibonacci sequence around 1200 A.D. The Fibonacci sequence is a sequence in which each term is the sum of the 2 numbers preceding it. The first 10 Fibonacci numbers are: (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89). These numbers are obviously recursive.

Fibonacci was born around 1170 in Italy, and he died around 1240 in Italy, but the exact dates of his birth and death are not known. He played an important role in reviving ancient mathematics and made significant contributions of his own. Even though he was born in Italy, he was educated in North Africa where his father held a diplomatic post. He published a book called Liber abaci, in 1202, after his return to Italy and it was in this book that the Fibonacci numbers were first discussed. It was based on bits of Arithmetic and Algebra that Fibonacci had accumulated during his travels with his father. Liber abaci introduced the Hindu-Arabic place-valued decimal system and the use of Arabic numerals into Europe. Though people were interested, this book was somewhat controversial because it contradicted some of the foremost Roman and Grecian Mathematicians of the time, and even proved many of their calculations to be false.

The Fibonacci sequence is also used in the Pascal triangle. The sum of each diagonal row is a Fibonacci number. They are also in the right sequence.

The Fibonacci sequence has been a big factor in many patterns of things in nature, which is quite fascinating. It's been discovered that the numbers representing the screw-like arrangements of leaves on flowers and trees are very often numbers in the Fibonacci sequence. On many plants, for instance, the number of petals is a Fibonacci number: buttercups have 5 petals; lilies and iris have 3 petals; some delphiniums have 8; corn marigolds have 13 petals; some asters...
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