mathematics

Rabbits, Matrices and the Golden Section – nth term of the Fibonacci Sequence by diagonalising a matrix

Fibonacci Sequence Leonardo Pisano, or Leonardo Fibonacci, studied rabbit populations in 1202 in the following way. Rabbit couples (male and female) inhabit an island.  Each rabbit couple becomes fertile 2 months after being born and then begets a male-female pair every month thereafter.  If the population of the island starts with one couple, how many …

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Parallelograms generalise Pythagoras to any triangle

There’s always space on the inter-web for another proof of Pythagoras’s Theorem.  Here’s one that uses the following equal areas property of parallelograms. This kind of area chopping and shape translation is a feature of Euclidean geometry and our senses support it’s veracity at the order of size of the classroom. The squares on the …

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The Ghosts of Departed Quantities and the difficulties of teaching and learning caculus

Bishop Berkeley writes this attack on the apparent supernatural reasoning involved in calculus.  The infidel was probably Halley (of comet fame) or Newton. If pupils find the subject difficult to understand at school, and teachers find it difficult to teach, then the reason may be articulated in this book by the great man. Quotes include: …

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