Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cool Brainiacs: Booktalk 2

Have you ever been insulted and called a blockhead? It's not fun, especially when you're actually smart. I want to introduce you to another Leonardo -- Leonardo of Pisa, also known as Leonardo Fibonacci. This Leonardo loved numbers that he thought about them all the time. In class, he was so smart that he'd finish his work early, start daydreaming about math riddles of his own inventions, and tick the teacher off! Many of the world's brightest minds were often daydreamers, so Leonardo Fibonacci fit that pattern perfectly! When Leonardo was grown up, he wrote a book about Hindu-Arabic numerals [basically, the number system we all use today], and he threw in some math riddles. One of the math riddles was about how fast rabbits can multiply. Now, if you've ever had a pair of male and female rabbits, they can have a lot of babies over the course of a year. You can get stuck with a lot of rabbit families, whether you want them or not. Leonardo discovered that in nature, whether we're talking about rabbits or shells or flowers, there is a magical numerical code which comes up time and time again. He found one of nature's most important codes! Today we call this code the Fibonacci sequence, after Leonardo. If you want to find out more about this amazing code, read Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by Joseph D'Agnese.

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