What do a snail, a nautilus shell, an elephant with a curled up trunk, horns of a sheep, a fern fron, a cochlea in an inner ear diagram, and an ear itself have in common?
If you guessed “a shape that can be reduced to an incredibly similar mathematical pattern,” you’d be right.
In this extremely cool video, Vi Hart demonstrates not only the mathematical gymnastics that the Fibonacci sequence is capable of, but how ubiquitous the shape and sequence is in so many aspects of nature.
Sunflowers, pineapples, and pinecones are just some of the flora she dissects and measures, every time returning to the creepily omnipresent spiral and number sequence present throughout each example.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Fibonacci sequence, the video goes a good job of explaining what it is–but just know that there’s an entire Wikipedia article dedicated to Fibonacci sequence references in pop culture, and just about all of them involve some sort of cosmic conspiracy and the nature of reality.
Fibonacci sequence spirals are fractals–a shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a smaller copy of the whole. Though I’ve always hated math, I’ve always been a huge fan of fractals and a big believer that a whole of anything is only the sum of all the individual parts–whether that’s a sunflower or a set of data. Even in Jackson Pollack’s apparently random splatter-paintings, computer analysis has revealed the presence of distinct fractals.
Excuse me while I proceed to spiral hunt. What are your thoughts on the Fibonacci sequence?