Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Fibonacci Sequence - In Our Time

Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code didn't do it for me. The book always seemed like a cheap rip off from Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. The appearance of the Fibonacci Sequence in the first book was nice though. I am not sure where I had run into it before (Not in Eco , I suppose), but occasionally these mathematical subjects can capture my unmathematical mind. Fermat's Last Theorem was another book that did such - also by the BBC.

This time round the BBC throws in an effort through In Our Time and sort off succeeded. The program is of fantastic quality as usual, though on Fibonacci it did not give too much new information, for me that is.

As a matter of fact it was the historical aspect I found the most fascinating, but that was not the major part of the discussion. Twelfth century Fibonacci (Leonardo of Pisa) was not the one to formulate this sequence, and it did not get his name until the 19th century. He found it in the Arabic world and it roots in Arabic and Indian mathematics. When adapted to geometry it was combined with Greek mathematics. I would have loved to hear more about the history.

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