13-Year Old Uses Fibonacci Sequence for Better Solar Power UPDATEDWhile walking through a forest in the winter, 7th grader Aidan Dwyer thought he saw a pattern in the way leaves and limbs grew from trees. Some photography, measurements, and investigating the work of other naturalists confirmed that plants produce new growth following a Fibonacci sequence. This pattern, where the previous numbers are added together to make the next number in sequence (1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+2=5, 5+3=8, etc.), and its corresponding golden ratio have been observed all over the nature world. This got Dwyer thinking about why trees grew in this way, and if there was an evolutionary advantage in doing so. He knew that trees, like all plants, use their leaves to photosynthesize and decided to make that the focus of his investigation. To do so, he constructed a "tree" using the sequence of leaves found on an oak tree. Except on his tree, Dwyer placed photovoltaic cells instead of leaves.Read on...
Magic Bendable LEGOs Really Just GeometryHow can you use rectangular bricks to make amazing curved shapes? LEGO creations that seem impossible to make without bending the bricks themselves can come together easily with a little help from your high school math class. Jeff Sanders of Portland, OR began incorporating geometry into his LEGO building when he realized that even though the bricks are made of a hard plastic, they have a little bit of flexibility. The 1x2 and 1x3 bricks have an ever-so-slight of agive to them, which combined with a little bit of math, allowed Sanders to first build a circle, and then keep building larger and more creative curved designs. Sanders' largest creation is a sunflower, made of more than 1,800 bricks. Sanders says he started thinking about LEGO building mathematically when he realized that he could apply the Fibonacci sequence to creating curved structures.Read on...