The Fibonacci sequence is one of the most famous formulas in mathematics.
Each number in the sequence is the sum of the two numbers that precede it. So, the sequence goes: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on. The mathematical equation describing it is Xn+2= Xn+1 + Xn
A mainstay of high-school and undergraduate classes, it’s been called “nature’s secret code,” and “nature’s universal rule.” It is said to govern the dimensions of everything from the Great Pyramid at Giza, to the iconic seashell that likely graced the cover of your school math textbook.
And odds are, almost everything you know about it is wrong.
So then, what’s the real story behind this famous sequence?
Many sources claim it was first discovered or “invented” by Leonardo Fibonacci. The Italian mathematician, who was born around A.D. 1170, was originally known as Leonardo of Pisa, said Keith Devlin, a mathematician at Stanford University. Only in the 19th century did historians come up with the nickname Fibonacci (roughly meaning, “son of the Bonacci clan”), to distinguish the mathematician from another famous Leonardo of Pisa, Devlin said.