Leonardo Pisano Bigollo, or better known as Fibonacci, was a mathematician that lived between 1170 – 1245 in Italy, though his exact date of death is unknown it was between 1240 and 1250.  Most of what we know about Fibonacci and his theories comes from the book he wrote “Liber Abaci” or the book on calculation.  He is most well known for the Fibonacci Sequence which is an infinite string of numbers where any given number is the sum of the two previous numbers (i.e 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, …).  Even though he is most well known for this sequence he did many other things that are very important for the world of math today.  He was the one to introduce decimal numbers to Europe.  He is also the reason why people stopped using Roman numerals for their calculations.

            Fibonacci was originally a wealthy trader which is why he traveled to faraway places like North Africa.  As he traveled he learned many different mathematical techniques which were not yet known to the Europeans which he shared with them once he returned from his travels.  He ended up bringing Hindu-Arabic numerals to the Europeans.  Which while they weren’t our modern day number system they were much easier to use than Roman numerals. 

            The Fibonacci sequence came from Fibonacci proposing how rabbits would multiply given ideal conditions.  Though the sequence was known to Indian mathematicians far earlier than that, but it was Fibonacci’s book that made it widespread.  The Fibonacci numbers do lead to what mathematicians refer to as the golden ratio.  This ratio is a Fibonacci number divided by the previous number in the sequence, and leads to approximately 1.61538.  The Fibonacci sequence has also popped up in nature.  It can be seen in places like the spirals of seashells, and in how plant leaves are arranged.

            Without Fibonacci’s input math would not be nearly as advanced as it is today.  People might still be trying to do math using Roman numerals which are far more cumbersome than the script we use today.  The famous Fibonacci Sequence has been found to pop up in various forms through things that at first glance seem unrelated to the Fibonacci sequence.  So thanks to Fibonacci and his travels European mathematicians learned many things that they would not have been privy to.  This consolidation of techniques from around the world helped mathematicians from different areas of the world have the same knowledge base.  This helped other mathematicians make even more advances in mathematics.


January 8, 2014 What is math

What is Math?

Math in its simplest terms is the study of numbers and how different operations on those numbers can alter them.  In slightly more complex terms, math is how we can apply numerical values to how the world works.  We can use different mathematical formulas in order to see why the natural world works, and predict how man made structures will hold up.  Attempting to predict how the natural world and man made projects work without mathematics would prove to be problematic and would rarely be correct.  There are very few things in the physical world that can not be explained using mathematics.  Math has many practical uses and can do things like give us an idea about how strong structures will be before they are anything more than a sketch on a page.

What are some of the most important discoveries in mathematics?

  • The creation of the basic counting numbers was one of the most important early steps to making mathematics a cohesive subject, math would not make any sense if there was nothing to represent the numbers.
  •  One that came later on from the middle east is the mathematical concept of zero.
  • The mathematical concept of pi, this concept is important because of just how often this value pops up.
  • The discovery of the Fibonacci Sequence was important just because of how many times it shows up in the natural world.  It appears in odd places like in seashell patterns.
  • The creation of Calculus was an important milestone, it allowed to calculate the forces used in Physics.

Math is something that is used everyday, by everyone it allows the world to make some form of sense.  It puts logic into events that seem completely illogical.  Math can help people to create anything that requires a basic understanding of engineering.  The patterns that appear in math can also allow mathematicians to predict how different situations will occur.