The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers that has long fascinated scientists and mathematicians from all over the world. In fact, it is a very precise ratio (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 and so on, ad infinitum) which corresponds to various patterns found in nature, from the vortex of a pine cone to the curve of a shell.
Basically, every integer is the sum of the previous two numbers. The ratio of numbers in the Fibonacci sequence is often called the golden ratio or golden number (indicated by the irrational number 1.6180339887…). The ratios of successive Fibonacci numbers approach the golden ratio as the numbers approach infinity.
Here is where the Fibonacci sequence can be found in nature:
- Seeds, pine cones, fruits and vegetables: let’s take a sunflower for example. The series of seeds in the center of this flower show what appear to be spiral patterns curving left and right…that’s the Fibonacci sequence! The same can be observed in pine cones, pineapples, Roman broccoli and so much more;
- Flowers and branches: some plants express the Fibonacci sequence in their growth points, while in trees it is possible to observe it in the points where the branches form or divide. Also, if we count the number of petals in a flower, it will often be found that the total is one of the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence;
- Tornado: Storm systems such as hurricanes and tornadoes often follow the Fibonacci sequence;
- Bees: Fibonacci numbers express the family tree of bees.
Why do so many natural patterns reflect the Fibonacci sequence? Scientists have debated it for centuries, as it can be dated as far back as 200 BC, but the correlation could just be a coincidencewhile in other situations the relationship exists because that particular growth model has evolved as the most effective.