Posted tagged ‘Golden Section’

Popular Populations & Power (or a fistful of Fibonacci!)

March 20, 2010

What does you fist have to with exponential functions? Well aside from wishing you could hit your teacher for making you suffer through Exponential (&Transcendental) functions, it shows you an important sequence of numbers – the Fibonacci (Fibonacci was the first person to bring decimal numerals and place value notation to the west!)  sequence. The fibonacci sequence is:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 ,21 ,34,…

If you look at the side of your fist, you can see this pattern in the knuckles (not knuckle joints).  The first knuckle is 1. The second knuckle is 1. When you fold your finger over, it makes a curl of three knuckles. When you close your fist (without your thumb) it makes a sequence of five sections. When you include your thumb, it goes to eight – in other words, a fistful of fibonacci (1 knuckle, 1 knuckle, 3 sections in a curl, 5 sections in a fist, 8 sections in a fist and thumb). The Fibonacci sequnce shows up everywhere in nature and art as a ratio called the golden mean. It shows up in places as different as the petals of a rose, sections of a pine cone, the shape of a shell, the Athenean Acropolis, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Vetruvian Man, the stock marketthe spiral galaxyDNA, even popular music!