Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Math and Nature

So, here we are, nearly to the middle of my least favorite month. With the biggest piles of snow in a long while. And today, wind chills below 0. Spring is just around the corner, but the corner seems a bit far away about now. Thank goodness I'm keeping my mind busy with my math class. It is very stimulating and I find I'm putting a lot of time and energy into learning, or relearning something very interesting. When I'm not doing problems, I'm working on my journal...

This is the famous Fibonacci Spiral in fabric. The sequence of numbers comes up in nature often. The structure is very similar to the traditional log cabin construction, spiraling around a center block. The difference, though, is this spiral grows exponentially with each addition. Like the numbers: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21, 34,55,89,144...adding the last number with the previous to get the next.

And then there's the rabbits. Fibonacci figured out that if a pair of rabbits, under ideal conditions, reproduced regularly, they would have 144 (a fibonacci number) rabbits at the end of the year..and every month up to that point will follow the sequence as well.

The center of many flowers grow in a spiral pattern. One set of spirals goes in one direction and one in the other...(I think I need to add a few more beads here). On a pineapple, there are 8 spirals in one direction and 13 in the other (fibonacci numbers). News you can't use, but interesting nonetheless.


Joanne S said...

When I worked as an aide in the high school math department (years and years ago) one of my display board projects was the Fibonacci Rabbits. I drew and cut out more and more rabbits each day, pinning them to the bulletin boards, traveling around corners, across walls etc. Waiting for one of the students to realize what it was. Then I could stop. After a while I realized the joke was on me!!!

botanical drawing and watercolors depend on the artist understanding and using the Fibonacci patterns. I was reading Roz's complaint for a sketching date and she wanted to draw a flower but wasn't eager to get into the Fibonacci. I wondered how many knew to what she was referring.

Anonymous said...

I'm certainly enjoying reading about what you are learning and I hope your class and instructor appreciate the journal. Please keep posting. Why wasn't math this much fun when I did it, I wonder.