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Leonardo Fibonacci

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    Leonardo Fibonacci was born in Pisa, Italy around 1175 to Guilielmo Bonacci. Leonardo’s father was the secretary of the Republic of Pisa and directed the Pisan trading colony. His father intended on Leonardo becoming a merchant. His father enlisted him in the Pisan Republic, sending him to various countries. As Leonardo continued to travel with his father, he acquired mathematical skills while in Bugia. Fibonacci continued to study throughout his travels, which ended around the year 1200.

    Leonardo began writing books on number theory, practical problems of business mathematics, surveying, advanced problems in algebra and recreational mathematics. Leonardo’s recreational problems became known as story problems and became mental challenges in the 13th century. Of all the books he wrote we still have copies of Liber abbaci (1202), Practica geometriae (1220), Flos (1225), and Liber Quadratorum. Sadly his books on commercial arithmetic Di minor guisa is lost as well as his commentary on Book X Euclid’s Elements.

    One of Leonardo’s contributions to mathematics was his introducing the Decimal Number system into Europe. He was one of the first people to introduce the Hindu-Arabic number system into Europe. Fibonacci also introduced the Decimal Positional System, which originated from India and Arabia. Fibonacci wrote story problems in his book, Liber abbaci. Examples of those problems are, “A spider climbs so many feet up a wall each day and slips back a fixed number each night, how many days does it take him to climb the wall. These problems became quite popular. Another accomplishment was his forming the Fibonacci Series. It is a series of number in which each member is the sum of the two preceding numbers. For example, a series beginning 0, 1 … continues as 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and so forth. The exact period of this discovery is not known. Leonardo was a bright man, but left much of his solutions to his questions or problems without explanations. No way for some finding how he arrived at it.

    During Leonardo’s lifetime he was recognized for his efforts and contributions to mathematics. In 1225 Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick ll recognized Leonardo for his work. In 1240 the Republic of Pisa awarded Fibonacci a salary for his work as well. It is not known for sure, but Leonardo is said to have died sometime after he received his salary. His many contributions are well remembered today by people in the math community.


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