numbers make the world go round

nature's detritus: feather snagged on a plant

Steve Schwartzman takes amazing photos of Texas wildflowers. I recently started using his photography tips in my nature shots (that’s my photo above). Yesterday he blogged about March 14 being π day (3.14 day). i love numbers and math(s) so i was intrigued to find out more about the magical number that is π. Numbers help explain many things in nature eg. Fibonacci sequences appear in the spirals found in plants* (pine cones, an uncurling fern).

I commented on Steve Schwartzman’s blog that

numbers make the world go round

Steve Schwartzman congratulated my pun, which until then i hadn’t got. my sub-conscious is very witty, it takes the rest of me a moment to catch up.


note: i took this photo (click to see the original) a feather from a 28 parrot caught at Star Swamp Reserve

* I thought Fibonacci sequences were also found in the spirals of sunflowers, as proposed by Vogel in 1979 but wikipedia says not:

“It is often said that sunflowers and similar arrangements have 55 spirals in one direction and 89 in the other (or some other pair of adjacent Fibonacci numbers), but this is true only of one range of radii, typically the outermost and thus most conspicuous.” – Prusinkiewicz & Lindenmayer (1990) The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants Springer-Verlag pp. 101–7 ISBN 9780387972978

One thought on “numbers make the world go round

  1. In my experience, the spirals in flower heads aren’t always easy to distinguish, but I’ve been able to find Fibonacci numbers in some of them. For example, in the photograph I found at

    SunFlower: the Fibonacci sequence, Golden Section

    I make out 34 spiraling clockwise out from the center; in the other direction I can count 21 if I stay near the center, but those spirals seem to break down after a certain distance outward.

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