Science Saturday – Nature By Numbers

Science Saturday - Fibonacci SequenceIt’s been a while since I posted a Science Saturday article, but what better way to re-start the series than with a bang. And have I got something really really good to start us off with.

Filmmaker Cristóbal Vila illustrates the mathematical principles that underpin life and the essence of Nature in this short animation inspired by numbers, geometry, and the natural world. He explains the theory behind each sequence on his website.

The video starts off with an explanation behind the Fibonacci sequence, which is the principle behind the shape of shells, in this case a Nautilus. Vila readily admits to taking “artistic license” with the relationship between the golden ratio and the structure of the nautilus.

The video then goes on to explain about the Golden Rule or Divine Proportion and the interaction between it and the irrational number, Phi, often written as φ (and not to be confused with Pi, better known as π.) Phi plays a major role in the arrangement of sunflowers seeds, flower petals and even in shaping the eyes of insects and the meanderings of rivers for source to mouth. There are lots written about the golden ratio in nature and if you’re interested in learning more, then take a look at this essay by Samuel Arbesman.

Hope you enjoyed learning about the mathematics behind Nature provides all around us every day, and a special thanks to my friend Amber who shared this with me.

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