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## Why Study Math? – The Fibonacci Sequence and Sex Appeal

Oh, that area of math. Don’t you just love to hate it? Still, you have to admit that when someone explains some of its beauty to you, and you get it, you marvel at what an incredible field it is.

This is the case of number sequences and in particular of the one called Fibonacci sequence. For those who don’t know what a sequence is, it is simply a list of numbers that follow a predefined rule. For example, the sequence 2, 4, 6, 8 is the arithmetic sequence which is defined by multiples of the number 2. The Fibonacci sequence is the following: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13… Do you see the pattern? Well, wait if you don’t; what is most important – or should I say interesting – could you have guessed that this sequence has something to do with sex appeal? In effect. Continue reading.

If you haven’t been able to see the pattern in the Fibonacci sequence, it’s this: each successive Fibonacci number after the second is obtained by adding the two previous numbers in the sequence. Thus 3 = 1 + 2, 8 = 3 + 5, etc. Apart from the unusual appearance of these numbers in the realms of nature, as for example, quantities such as the number of black and white keys that form an octave on a standard piano are all Fibonacci numbers, and the number of spirals in the florets of a sunflower head are consecutive Fibonacci numbers; the quotient formed by consecutive numbers in this sequence gets closer and closer to the golden ratio, and it is about 1.618.

Classical artists, musicians and architects have been fascinated by this famous number, which seems to have a sex appeal of its own. The ancient Greek sculptor Phidias, who created and supervised the construction of the Parthenon in Athens, is said to have used this golden rectangle concept in the facade of this famous architectural feat. Luca Pacioli, one of Leonardo da Vinci’s mathematics teachers, aroused great interest in the golden ratio in his work De Divina Proportione. Da Vinci used this work to bolster his claims that various aspects of the human body incorporated this golden ratio. For example, Da Vinci showed that the human face had proportions consistent with the golden ratio. To show this, Da Vinci drew golden rectangles on the face of an average human subject. One would assume that the more golden rectangles one could draw, the more aesthetically pleasing a person’s face was.

Obviously, a good appearance is associated with an aesthetically attractive face. According to the proposals of Luca Pacioli and Da Vinci, the more the face respects the proportions dictated by the golden ratio, the more a person is aesthetically attractive. Damn, now the math is all about sex appeal. How strange and curious this subject is! Yes. Sex appeal and mathematics. You have one, you certainly have the other. All that sexy stuff found in a number sequence that was probably found by some curious guy who decided to add 1+1 to get 2, then said, hmmm, let’s add 2+1 to get 3, and so on . Next thing you know, these numbers appear everywhere, from the piano keyboard to the face of a sunflower to the sex appeal of the human face. Wow, don’t you like math?

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