Doodling in Maths Class

Pine Cone by James Marvin Phelps

Pine Cone by James Marvin Phelps

This morning a friend sent me a link to a couple of Youtube clips. When that happens, I usually know what to expect – some new music recommendations, a comedy clip, a dazzling insight from Keller, or a dog on a skateboard (depending on which friend it is!) I was, therefore, a little bemused to find two videos of a mathematician doodling pictures in order to explain the Fibonacci sequence and the shape of pinecones.

I’m not entirely sure what made him think of me: I’m inept at maths and have never owned a plant that’s lived longer than a fortnight! I can only imagine he’d spied some of my inane doodles on post-it notes and felt I needed some extra help…

But for some reason I watched the videos and found myself captivated.

Why not take a few minutes to check out the two videos and consider the creative genius who put these patterns together. Imagine the childlike joy He may have experienced as He pieced together the first pinecone, or spoke the first plant into being. Picture him holding the first artichoke in His hand, chuckling as He imagined generations of people wondering “How on earth are you meant to eat this thing?” and mathematicians trying to unravel the secrets of its leaf arrangements.   

I never thought I would see the day when I was waiting with baited breath for part three of a mathematics tuition video. But I defy you watch these videos and not (a) be impressed, (b) at least entertain the idea that there may be a plan behind such complexity and order and (c) make your own phi-angle-o-tron!

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