A 13-year-old New Yorker has discovered a mathmatical pattern in the way that tree branches grow, which in turn led him to create a new solar panel design that could revolutionize the solar energy industry.
The pattern that young Aidan Dwyer noticed was based on the Fibonacci Sequence, a pattern that medieval mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci developed to illustrate patterns that he noticed while breeding multiple generations of rabbits. The pattern starts with a single number, such as one, repeats it once, and then has every consecutive number be the sum of the previous too. The most commonly used example is 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc,…
The proposed model would arrange solar panels more like the leaves on a tree. It is interesting to note how this improvement technology has come about by an attempt to mimic existing examples of solar energy converters found in nature. Despite the great advancements in technology made over the past few decades, there is apparently still much we can learn from seemingly simple and commonplace things in nature.
The Fibonacci Sequence appears in many forms of nature beyond just the arrangement of the branches and leaves on trees. The quotient of any number in the Fibonacci Sequence, divided by it’s immediate predecessor, provides us with the “golden ratio“, a formula that describes, among other things, the proportions of the human head.