Wednesday, November 23, 2022

What do hurricanes and pine cones have in common?

Happy Fibonacci Day!

Today, November 23 is Fibonacci Day, because the numbers are in the Fibonacci sequence of 1, 1, 2, 3. So when written in month and date format it forms the sequence that can be charted out into a pattern. 

The Fibonacci pattern appears frequently in like the branching in trees, leaves on a stem, family trees of honeybees, flower petals, spirals of a sunflower and so on.

The sequence is named for Leonardo Fibonacci, a Medieval mathematician who lived in Pisa from around 1170 -1250 ad. 

Starting with 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, the Fibonacci sequence is created by adding up the two previous numbers to get the next one.

The sequence is used in computing, stock trading, and architecture and design.

Once we discovered the sequence, it started showing up everywhere. Nature is full of Fibonacci patterns, from DNA to hurricanes, leading some to dub the Fibonacci sequence “nature’s secret code.”
Another major contribution he made was "nothing."
He helped introduce the zero to the western world. 
Born to an Italian merchant, the young Leonardo traveled to North Africa with his father, where he was exposed to the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. The system, which includes zero and limits itself to 10 symbols, is much more agile and flexible compared to the unwieldy Roman numeral system. 
In 1202, Fibonacci published “Liber Abaci”, introducing Europe to the Hindu-Arabic system and his now-famous sequence.

The website here suggests a number of ways to celebrate the day including

Plan a Fibonacci feast.
The Fibonacci sequence occurs very frequently in common fruits and vegetables and when prepared together, these foods make for a fun meal! Prepare things like artichokes, pineapple, Romanesco and pomegranate to see how the sequence occurs in nature.

Take a Fibonacci-inspired nature walk.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to easily discover Fibonacci sequence in flowers, trees, and much more. Take a nature walk and inspect things like pine cones, ferns, daisies, sunflowers, and snails, since all of these things are made up of Fibonacci numbers.

Seek out the Fibonacci sequence in famous works of art.
Many famous works of art employ the golden spiral or golden rectangles (based on the Fibonacci sequence). Art works like “The Great Wave” by Katsushika Hokusai or many of Mondrian’s square-filled paintings are great examples of the sequence in action!

To learn more about math and history contact us at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room. We offer a number of free programs for schools and community groups related to the subject. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Census Celebrates November!

November is best known for celebrating Thanksgiving. 

But did you know it is also the time to celebrate Geography Awareness Week and Native American Indian Heritage Month. 

How does all this tie together to the U.S. Census Bureau? 

Today I received an email bulletin fron the U.S. Census Bureau that covered all these topics and more. See this link here

Some of the fun facts from the bulletin - there are 4 places named Turkey and 5 places named Cranberry in the U.S. FMI see this link here.

Facts should not lie, but in this case they do. If you look on the left of that pdf under "A History of Giving Thanks" you will note it focuses on the 1621 Pilgrim event so many people believe is the earliest celebrated in what is now the United States. 

I find a certain irony of the census bureau getting the date and the location of the first thanksgiving wrong. See my previous blogs here and here

The census bulletin also features American Indian Heritage Month. The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916, in New York. In 1990, then-President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating the month of November "National American Indian Heritage Month." FMI see this link here

The Henney History Room of the Conway Public Libary has a number of resources on this subject and we would love to help you learn more. 

Now to geography and the census. FMI see this link here

To give you an idea of how the censue can help with geography, let's start with the painting below:

This painting can be found at the Conway Public Library just around the corner from the main circulation desk. The recent release of the 1950 census by the Federal Government adds an new and unique perspective to this little corner of Conway. You can find info on the painting in our online catalog here

The 1950 census provides us with a snapshot of life inside the home. 

Other historical resources such as maps, photos, booklets and even film, contribute to provide an in-depth picture/window into the history of the site. 

The Conway Public Library's Henney History Room has a photograph that very nearly matches the painting. 

You can find it in our online catalog here. Note the two images are from almost the same angle, with same number and location of chimneys and a the white picket fence. 

The Conway Public Library provides access to the 1950 census through its geneaology databases. Here is a screen shot about the owner and residents of the building...

... and some details from the original hand-written record (click on images to enlarge them). 



We also have a booklet written by the owner's daughter. 

The caption for the cover photo reads "The doctor with Joanna, age 2 1/2, and the family mascot, Jerry, in front of the house and office on Pleasant Street." 

The book is full of wonderful stories as told by family and friends. Now for the real kicker, we can actually take a peek back in time, and watch the daughter, now older dancing in the house. 

You can find a link to our youtube video channel here. Scroll the time bar to part 1 at 13 min and 45 seconds. 

So waltz on down to the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room so see what we can discovery about your history!