Happy Fibonacci Day :: 11-23!
From rabbits to golden ratios...Growth Never Stops
Today at Launch we're thankful for many things - especially employees, clients and partners that fuel our Value #9, "Growth Never Stops."
Coincidentally, November 23 is celebrated as Fibonacci Day because the date written in mm/dd is 11/23. And Fibonacci perfectly demonstrated growth.
The Fibonacci Sequence is the series of numbers: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, ... The next number is found by adding up the two numbers before it.
Read on for how Fibonacci discovered this sequence (spoiler alert: rabbits!) and why the Fibonacci Sequence is so fundamental in nature, art, and even agile software project planning.
The story began in Pisa, Italy in the year 1202. Leonardo Pisano Bigollo, a young man in his twenties, was a member of an important trading family of Pisa. In his travels throughout the Middle East, he was captivated by the mathematical ideas that had come west from India through the Arabic countries. When he returned to Pisa, he published these ideas in a book on mathematics called Liber Abaci, which became a landmark in Europe. Leonardo, who has since come to be known as Fibonacci, became the most celebrated mathematician of the Middle Ages. His book was a discourse on mathematical methods in commerce, but is now remembered mainly for two contributions: one obviously important at the time and one seemingly insignificant.
1. He brought to the attention of Europe the Hindu system for writing numbers. European tradesmen and scholars were still clinging to the use of the old Roman numerals; modern mathematics would have been impossible without this change to the Hindu system, which we call now Arabic notation, since it came west through Arabic lands.
2. He posed a question: "If a pair of rabbits is placed in an enclosed area, how many rabbits will be born there if we assume that every month a pair of rabbits produces another pair, and that rabbits begin to bear young two months after their birth?"
The answer to this apparently innocent little question became known now as the Fibonacci sequence, which has turned out to be one of the most interesting series of numbers ever written down. It has been rediscovered in an astonishing variety of forms, in branches of mathematics way beyond simple arithmetic. Its method of development has led to far-reaching applications in mathematics and computer science.
But even more fascinating is the surprising appearance of Fibonacci numbers, and their relative ratios, in arenas far removed from the logical structure of mathematics: in Nature and in Art, in classical theories of beauty and proportion.
The Most Beautiful Rectangle
Ancient Greeks used golden rectangles, as well as other golden shapes and proportions adhering to the golden ratio, in their architecture and art. Almost 2500 years ago, a Greek sculptor and architect named Phidias is thought to have used the golden ratio to design the statues he sculpted for the Parthenon (note the word “phi” in Phidias’ name—that isn’t a coincidence and actually inspired the naming of the number in the 20th century). And since Phidias’ time, numerous painters and musicians have incorporated the golden ratio into their work too—Leonardo da Vinci, Salvador Dalí, and Claude Debussy, among many others.
What does this have to do with Fibonacci? Surprisingly, dividing each number in the Fibonacci sequence by the previous number in the sequence gives: 1 / 1 = 1, 2 / 1 = 2, 3 / 2 = 1.5, and so on up to 144 / 89 = 1.6179…. The resulting sequence is:
1, 2, 1.5, 1.666..., 1.6, 1.625, 1.615…, 1.619…, 1.6176…, 1.6181…, 1.6179… numbers that get closer and closer to 1.618—the value of phi: the golden ratio!
Applications of The Golden Ratio
The golden ratio isn’t just for mathematicians, Greek sculptors, and Renaissance painters—you can use it in your life too. The golden ratio or the Rule of Thirds helps you take better pictures. At Launch, we use the golden rectangle in web UI design and videography.
And not only do these pleasing shapes show up in human art, they also show up in nature - from shells to solar systems.
Today we give a big Salute' to Fibonacci for unlocking one of the beautiful mysteries of nature and giving us a cornerstone of math and computer science that continues to propel growth and discovery. Further, Faster.