Sunday, July 14, 2013

New words and the questioning mind

 I love listening to questions from people who really want to know the answer.  These are the folks that once the question is asked, will explore and read and question until they have a satisfactory answer.  Then they ask again. 

While walking the other day, I wondered why certain things are considered more beautiful that others.  I also wondered why there seemed to be a lot of spirals found in nature.  Think about it: rose petals attach to the flower's center in a spiral pattern.  Even something as mundane as a head of lettuce has leaves that attach to the core following a spiral.
Brace yourself.  We're going into the deep end of the pool.

First: the word of the day: fibonacci. The short version: Back around 1200 AD, an Italian mathematician named Leonardo Pisano discovered a sequence that begins with 0 and 1 which is thought of as the 'golden arrangement' found in nature.  Each successive number is made from the sum of the last 2 numbers, like in the sequence, e.g. 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 etc.  As the numbers go up, the space between the last number also increases forming a spiral.  oh, and Fibonacci?  That was his nickname.  It's actually Italian for Son of Bonacci (his dad).
For of those of you who love math or would like to know how all this works out, there are articles published online that work it all out.
So, obviously, human beings don't look much like seashells, but the Fibonacci also applies to us.  Look at your hand.  Think of the fingernail as a unit = 1.  The bone making up the tip of your finger (distal phalanx) would be equal to 2.  The part next to it (middle phalanx) would be equal to 3.  The part nearest the palm (proximal phalanx) is equal to 5.  and so on.  It is the proportions and balance that contribute to what we describe as beautiful.  To read more, I like Boston University's Fibonacci Sequence site.  Always nice to have a little fun when learning something new.

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