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WRITER FUEL: What is the Fibonacci Sequence?

Fibonacci Sequence - Pixabay

The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two that precede it. Starting at 0 and 1, the sequence looks like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on forever. The Fibonacci sequence can be described using a mathematical equation: Xn+2= Xn+1 + Xn

People claim there are many special properties about the numerical sequence, such as the fact that it is “nature’s secret code” for building perfect structures, like the Great Pyramid at Giza or the iconic seashell that likely graced the cover of your school mathematics textbook. But much of that is incorrect and the true history of the series is a bit more down-to-earth.

The first thing to know is that the sequence is not originally Fibonacci’s, who in fact never went by that name. The Italian mathematician who we call Leonardo Fibonacci was born around 1170, and originally known as Leonardo of Pisa, said Keith Devlin, a mathematician at Stanford University. Only in the 19th century did historians come up with the nickname Fibonacci (roughly meaning, “son of the Bonacci clan”), to distinguish the mathematician from another famous Leonardo of Pisa, Devlin said.

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