The Numbers of Life – Fibonacci

To understand the golden ratio, first you must understand the Fibonacci sequence. Leonardo Fibonacci was born around 1170 into a wealthy Italian family. His father, Gugliemlo Fibonacci, was a successful merchant who directed a trading post in Bugia (a Mediterranean port, now Algeria). He learnt his mathematical skills whilst traveling around the mediterranean and learning from Arab mathematicians. He returned to Italy around 1200 and published what he had learnt in the Liber Abaci (meaning Book of the Abacus or Book of calculating).

A page from the Liber Abaci

Within this book, Fibonacci introduced a series of numbers to the western world. Fibonacci is commonly credited as having discovered this series of numbers. In fact  the numbers have been with us for a very much  longer period of time. To trace the orgins of these numbers  – we have to go back not to the Renaissance, not even to Adam and Eve but to the creation of the universe itself. It is a number that determines how sunflowers seed, Pinecones and Daisies grow and humans develop.. More on that in another post.

On To The Numbers

Starting with 0 and 1, each new number in the series is simply the sum of the two before it.

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…

The ratio between one number and the latter in the series is roughly 1.6180 as the numbers increase (13 ÷ 8=1.625, 21 ÷ 13=1.615, 34 ÷ 21=1.619, 55 ÷ 34=1.618). So, whats the significance of this number you say? Its the “golden ratio”. And, if any of you were interested in the full Fibonacci number, here you go: its full version is 1.618033988749895.

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