Leonardo of Pisa (also known as Leonardo Fibonacci) wrote about an ancient sequence of numbers he learned about while visiting Northern Africa, a pattern that continues to influence and inspire math and technology today. Each number in the sequence is the sum of the two numbers before it and it begins 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13. The sequence came to be known as the Fibonacci sequence.
People have been so inspired by this pattern of numbers that they feel they see it appear in all around them. Many even call the sequence “nature’s secret code!”
Watch Muzology’s brilliant Mathematician-at-Large, James Tanton, PhD (Founder of Global Math Project) explain more about the appearance of the Fibonacci sequence in nature...and what the ancestral code of bees has to do with it?!
"Beekeepers of ancient Egypt noticed some 3,000 years ago that there's something very strange about the genetics of bees," explains Dr. Tanton. "Female bees lay eggs. If an egg is not fertilized by a male, the egg is actually sure to hatch into a male bee - a drone. If the egg is fertilized by a male, the egg is sure to hatch into a female bee - a queen. So every male bee has just one parent, a female. But, every female bee has two parents, a female and a male...which makes for a very curious family tree of a bee."
"Let's start with a single bee, a single male. A male has just one parent, a female. Whereas that female parent has two parents, a female and a male. Which means the original bee has two grandparents. Let's look at the great-grandparents of the orginal bee...there are three great-grandparents of the original bee."
As you continue to trace the family tree of a bee, you'll quickly discover the Fibonacci sequence emerge as you move from generation to generation.
Starting with one male bee, you'll find one parent (a female) and two granparents: 1 + 1 = 2. The two granparents (a female and a male) will have three parents, so there are three great-grandparents of the original bee: 1+2=3. These three great-grandparents will have five parents, so there are five great-great-grandparents of the original bee: 2+3=5. These five great-great-granparents will have eight parents, so there are eight great-great-great-grandparents of the original bee: 3+5= 8.
The sequence that emerges over these generations is: 1,1,2,3,5,8. This pattern continues across generations as the sequence of the sums of the two preceding numbers.
Math is everywhere!
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