Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Fibonacci Sequence

For Christmas 1987, my brother gave me ‘yet another interesting book’ (his words), “The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers”. Clearly it must be pretty interesting, since I was surprised to see it is still available. Being something of a maths geek, I did enjoy reading it, but it has been languishing in my loft for a few years now.

Jump forward a couple of decades and I was reading “The Rabbit Problem” as a bedtime story to my daughter and was wondering why it was set in Fibonacci’s Field. Clearly this was related to the Fibonacci Sequence (and reading the back cover gave the game away) but I was unsure how the Fibonacci Sequence was related to rabbits. So time to climb up into the loft to find out. Turns out the Fibonacci Sequence was the solution to a problem about rabbits breeding. And it also appears a lot in nature, specifically in the number of petals etc in plants.

As if that wasn’t enough, the ratios of successive terms of the Fibonacci Sequence tend towards the Golden Ratio, another interesting number that you can find out about in the dictionary. And here’s a little Javascript example to show that convergence.

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