Beach, James W.||Miller, Herbert (Professor of mathematics)
M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)
Department of Mathematics
Nature--Study and teaching
This paper represents a compilation of material on the relationship of mathematics and nature. Teachers, especially, may find it a convenient and useful source for showing where mathematical form exists in nature and can thereby increase the interest of their students in the study of mathematics. Mathematical form is displayed by endless varieties of natural objects. The terms of the Fibonacci series are shown in plant life - in the placement of leaves on the stem, of scales on the pine cone, and of florets on the head of the sunflower. The scales of the pine cone and florets of the sunflower also form intersecting logarithmic spirals. Besides those found in plant life, logarithmic spirals are also found in animal life, e. g. in the construction of the gastropod's and the nautilus shells, in the construction of the geometrical spider's web, and in the growth of the horns of many animals. Symmetry about a point is represented in the snowflake and in the bee's cell. In addition, the form of the bee's cell is the best possible for holding the greatest amount of honey for the least expenditure of wax, while fitting the bee's body.
Berni, Elizabeth Catherine, "On mathematical form in nature" (1968). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 4178.
x, 47 pages
Northern Illinois University
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