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 SRU Math Students to Study Fibonacci Squence 

 

SPOTLIGHT

Feb. 28, 2006

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine: 724-738-4854; gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu

SRU MATH STUDENTS TO STUDY FIBONACCI SEQUENCE, A KEY PART OF “THE  DaVINCI CODE”

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. Just as mathematicians nationwide celebrate Pi Day once a year, math students at Slippery Rock University will devote March 8 to Leonardo of Pisa’s famous “Fibonacci Sequence,” an 800-year old sequencing of numbers from the man that brought the decimal system to Europe.

Students will study the relationship between the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio, which featured prominently in “The DaVinci Code.” Like Pi Day, students will compete in a trivia contest, and the winner will have the opportunity to throw a pie at the math professor of his or her choice.

Leonardo of Pisa, known as Fibonacci, developed the following story problem about rabbits to illustrate sums. “Beginning with a single pair of rabbits, if every month each productive pair bears a new pair, which becomes productive when they are 1 month old, how many rabbits will there be after n (variable) months?

“This problem generates the sequence of numbers called the Fibonacci Sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8,… where each number is the sum of the previous two,” said SRU’s Robert Vallin, associate professor of mathematics. “We’re looking for a solution after any number of months, so the answers depend on the variable.”

The day will include two talks. Stacey Reynolds, an SRU math major from Pittsburgh, will discuss the relationship between the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio. The second speaker, James Sellers, a professor of math at Penn State University, will talk about further mathematical aspects of the sequence.

“The event starts at 3:58 p.m, rather than 4, because 3, 5 and 8 appear in the sequence order while 4 does not,” Vallin said.

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