A Humorous Look at the Man Named Fibonacci

The mathematician best known for the Fibonacci series was known by many names. He was known as Leonardo of Pisa, Leonardo Pisano, Leonardo Bigollo, and Leonardo Fibonacci. He sometimes also wrote ďBonacciĒ , ďBonacciiĒ, and ďBonacijĒ. A man with this many names must have had many different occupations besides being the first great mathematician of the 13th century (a number in the Fibonacci series). How did Fibonacci make enough money to be able to accomplish all he did in math?

My first thoughts is a man with this many names may have been a thief. Could he have robbed banks? If he did he probably would have only robbed them on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 5th day of the week. He could have only robbed them on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, or 8th month of the year. What hours could he have robbed them? Assuming they kept bankers hours (10 -2), the only time he could have robbed the bank was at closing time. If he was ever captured they would have had to keep him in a cell that was 3 X 5, 5 X 8, or possibly if the accommodations where real nice 8 X 13.

If he wasnít a bank robber, maybe he was a traveling salesman. It is known that he traveled widely with his father and so maybe he sold things as they went. Could he have been the first soda pop distributor? Instead of 10 , 2, and 4, his pop would have been 13, 5, and 8. ( You young readers will have to ask your parents what pop was known with the numbers 10, 2, and 4). Iím sure Fibonacci would have sold them in 5-packs, 13-packs, and cases would have been either 21 or maybe 34. I would also bet that he would have given a 5% discount to store owners who bought 144 or 233 cases and an 8% discount if 377 or 610 cases were bought.

If he didnít sell pop, maybe he sold pills. He could have been an early medicine man. Can you imagine telling people they needed to take 5 pills 8 times a day. Imagine, he would have had to sell them 2564 pills just to get them through a two months supply. Iím sure he would have given a 13% discount to anyone who would buy 17,711 pills. This would have gotten them through about 13 months before they would need more.

Fibonacci was born in Pisa in 1170. As said before, he traveled widely with his father, but around 1200 he returned to his birth place. Along with writing a number of important texts, he would have needed some other way to make money. Perhaps he was a sheep herder. Iím sure he would have had a large area, something like 2584 feet by 4181 feet. Iím also sure he didnít count his sheep 2 by 2. Iím sure it went 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.

When all else failed, I think that was when he sat down and asked this now famous question:

A pair of rabbits are put in a field and, if rabbits take a month to become mature and then produce a new pair every month after that, how many pairs will there be in twelve months time?

When he discovered the answer to this question, Fibonacci saw his future and the future was rabbit raising. Upon discovering how fast rabbits can multiply Iím sure he would have done this job until he died in 1250. (Think about the numbers in that year). Quite possibly with the number of rabbits he could have had, that job might have killed him!

Contributed by James A. Means

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