The Fascinating Fellow: Fibonacci

In this article I will be talking about one of my favourite Mathematicians of all time, Fibonacci. But firstly, Fibonacci isn’t called Fibonacci at all! Fibonacci’s real name is Leonardo Bonacci and he was the son of a wealthy Italian merchant and in Fibonacci’s youth he travelled with his father across to North Africa often where he learned about the Hindu-Arabic numeral system.

His most famous work was the Liber Abaci (1202) where Fibonacci introduced Modus Indorum (Hindu-Arabic Numerals). In this work also he really pushed forward the practicality and value of the modern Arabic numeral system we know today.

This system was well received in Europe at the time and had a large impact on the advancement of European thought and mathematical progression.

In the 1228 edition the Arabic numeral system is compared with many other numeral systems, such as Roman numerals, and Fibonacci denoted methods in which to convert from other numeral systems into the Arabic numeral system. As time went on Fibonacci came to be a key figure in the advancement of the Arabic numeral system as it overtook the Roman numeral system and the out-dated Egyptian multiplication method, which lead to faster, easier calculations.

As a result, the abacus was no longer seen fit for purpose and lead to the growth of accounting and banking across Italy and Europe. In the book Fibonacci also talked in depth about irrational and prime numbers.

The Liber Abaci proposed and solved a problem based upon the growth of a rabbit population which involved idealised assumptions. The solution was named after Fibonacci and is arguably the most famous sequence in history: The Fibonacci Sequence.

The Fibonacci Sequence adds up the last two terms to create the next. The first 10 terms of the sequence are: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55.

The nth term of the sequence is defined as:


The Fibonacci sequence was first denoted in India as early as the 6th century however was made more predominant in modern mathematics by Fibonacci himself.

The Fibonacci helped lead onto the Golden Ratio which Fibonacci didn’t speak of in the Liber Abaci.

Leading on from this at some point will be an article on the Golden Ratio until then…

Keep Learning!


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