Author Topic: Fibonacci sequence  (Read 1711 times)

Offline yrammy

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Fibonacci sequence
« on: September 29, 2020, 06:16:48 pm »
Saw this question on a facebook group page. It asks about geology  , i wonder about speleology

Unusual question, but I know the Fibonacci sequence can be seen in nature in small things like pine cones, or flowers, but is it reflected in anything on a bigger scale in nature? When looking at a landscape, is there any sign of it?

Online Speleotron

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2020, 08:08:44 pm »
I wouldn't read too much into the Fibonacci stuff it's a bit of a myth. People love drawing spirals on things and saying how that is the golden ratio etc. but it's largely a case of people finding something if they purposefully look for it, like how people see Jesus in a tomato etc.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/mathematicians-dispute-claims-golden-ratio-natural-blueprint-beauty-10204354.html

https://www.fastcompany.com/3044877/the-golden-ratio-designs-biggest-myth

https://www.maa.org/external_archive/devlin/devlin_05_07.html
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Online Ian Ball

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2020, 08:15:49 pm »
Sounds like a question for Drs Rutherford & Fry

Online Mrs Trellis

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2020, 08:57:21 am »
I'm afraid Dr. Rutherford is unwell at the moment.
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Online Rob

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2020, 08:59:59 am »
Speleotron, how dare you question the underlying meaning of such an arbitrary number!  ;D

But seriously, after a quick scan, those links do not seem to challenge the existence of the sequence in nature (& science), only the higher level meaning of it in art and beauty.
The end is where we start....

Online Speleotron

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2020, 09:11:12 am »
Yes you're right they don't give any evidence against the sequence itself, but the resulting ratio has certainly been overused pretty much everywhere. My own opinion is that the sequence itself is also overused but this is hard to prove. Fibonacci came up with the sequence to model the population growth of animals but I think people fell into the trap (that traps many many scientists) of thinking 'that's neat, let's see where else it appears'. The problem with that is that it's like looking for faces in the clouds: you'll find them everywhere but they aren't actually faces.
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Offline kay

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2020, 09:53:48 am »
I think the problem may be more to do with thinking something is an underlying rule when it is merely an side effect of something else.['

Offline ZombieCake

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2020, 11:18:47 am »
Some it sounds a bit like good old Pareidolia:

"...the tendency for incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia#:~:text=Pareidolia%20(%2Fp%C3%A6r%C9%AA%CB%88,hearing%20hidden%20messages%20in%20music.

Trouble starts when people start adding  2 and 2 to make 5 and going off at tangents reinforcing what are essentially incorrect perceptions.

Online Speleotron

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2020, 11:23:02 am »
Yes, my maths teacher at school said that the number of petals of most flowers is a member of the Fibonacci sequence. I went out and counted petals and found, roughly, that the percentage of flowers which satisfied the 'rule' was about the same as the percentage of numbers which were in the Fibonacci sequence! I think confirmation bias plays a huge role. Somebody sees a Fibonacci spiral on a pine-cone and attaches significance to it, but not to the complete lack of Fibonacci-ness of a coconut or a leek.
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Online 2xw

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2020, 11:33:47 am »
I dunno if it's a myth so much as just not very important.
It happens in plants because it happens to be a very efficient way of arranging leaves. It's consequently a "choice" by said plant - but geology can't choose so I wouldn't expect to find it in geography apart from by coincidence

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2020, 11:37:34 am »
Is it really so efficient though and if so, why? It's something I heard from my maths teachers but they never showed me a source for that claim. It seems to me to be another urban myth, My un-scientific field work didn't find many Fibonacci flowers.
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Online JoshW

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2020, 12:02:54 pm »
Also see lots of people saying it's fibonacci spirals on things, when actually it's just any old spiral.

One I saw the other day was about whales blowing bubbles in a decreasing spiral to compress a school of fish, and it was just a normal spiral..

Online Speleotron

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2020, 12:29:27 pm »
Look for something and you will find it, even if it's not there!
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Online Speleotron

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2020, 02:06:05 pm »
The petals thing is another Fibonacci myth, based on a very selective reporting, see this quote:

Wilson cites numbers of petals on flowers.

lily                    3 
violet                5
delphinium        8
mayweed          13
aster                21
pyrethrum        34
helenium           55
michelmas daisy  89

These examples associate with Fibonacci numbers. But Wilson neglects to mention these others:


many trees                      0  This is a Fibonacci number. [3]
mustard, dames' rocket    4  Not a Fibonacci number.
tulip, hyacinth                  6  Not a Fibonacci number.
starflower, eggplant          7  Not a Fibonacci number.
gardenia                          8, 9 or 10 petals. 9 and 10 are not Fibonacci numbers.
Greek anemonie (various) 14 or 15 Not Fibonacci numbers.
black-eyed susan (some)  14  Not a Fibonacci number.
mountain laurel               10  Not a Fibonacci number.
gazania                          16  Not a Fibonacci number.



https://www.lockhaven.edu/~dsimanek/pseudo/fibonacc.htm
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Offline mikem

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2020, 02:37:14 pm »
Evolution doesn't work by making things perfect, the best solution for the current conditions, based on what was already there, is what wins through. & if a population is isolated then it can evolve independently to form a new species.

Seeing faces in things is a facet of the way our brain works for identifying each other.

Online Speleotron

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2020, 02:41:06 pm »
OK, but nobody can tell me why the Fibonacci sequence is in any way optimal for plants or for nature in general, and there doesn't seem to be a statistically significant bias towards Fibonacci numbers in flowers etc. I think it's one of those things that is believed because it sounds good, and gets passed round as wisdom. Maths teachs seem to love it, probably because it sounds semi-inspiring to kids.
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Offline droid

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2020, 03:57:32 pm »
No longer 'Exceptionally antagonistic' 'Deliberately inflammatory'

Offline mikem

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2020, 04:16:10 pm »
& people like simple explanations (the theory of evolution is simple, but its products aren't)

Offline grahams

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2020, 04:30:39 pm »
I remember IF. They don't make 'em like that any more.
Sceptics wanted!

Offline ChrisJC

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2020, 05:11:32 pm »
Reminds me of this wazzock:

who thinks he's found the sound of Pi.
Really he's just adding harmony to a random sequence of numbers! Any random sequence of numbers would sound exactly the same, so there's nothing significant about the Pi part.

There are plenty of afibonacciados out there doing the same.

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Online Speleotron

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2020, 05:26:39 pm »
And presumably he thinks that the harmonic scale developed in Western culture has some kind of fundamental significance? I think that kind of thing can be fun as long as people realise that it has no underlying meaning or mathematical significance.

By the way I'm not sure that the digits of pi really are random. They don't repeat, that has been proved, but asking whether they are random leads down a rabbit hole. I would say that the digits of pi are not random as there is a formula for finding the nth digit of pi, allbeit in hexadecimal, but nature doesn't favour base 10.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailey%E2%80%93Borwein%E2%80%93Plouffe_formula
https://stats.stackexchange.com/questions/44445/are-the-digits-of-pi-statistically-random
https://www.jstor.org/stable/2685604?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
https://www2.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/pi-random.html
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Offline mikem

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2020, 06:01:17 pm »
Is Pi the same if you work in hexadecimal then?

Offline Brains

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2020, 06:12:58 pm »
Is Pi the same if you work in hexadecimal then?
Being a ratio, the proportions will be constant, regardless of the units used or the base of the numbers... The actual numerical values are relevant?

Online Speleotron

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2020, 06:16:56 pm »
Any number is the same in any base it just doesn't look the same. The base is just how we display it on a page, nature doesn't care. We probably use base 10 because we have 10 fingers and the Romans didn't use any base as their numerals don't work like that.
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Offline Chocolate fireguard

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Re: Fibonacci sequence
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2020, 07:13:32 pm »
If the number of fingers set the base to which we count wouldn't we count to base 11?
I have never been sure about this.

 

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