Fibbonacci

            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.

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