Friday, August 19, 2011

13-Year-Old Makes A Solar Breakthrough With Fibonacci Sequence : TreeHugger

solar pioneer photo
image via American Museum of Natural History
(...) the Fibonacci sequence: Starting with the numbers 0 and 1, each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two - 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13.... These numbers, when put in ratios, happens to show up in the patterns of branches and leaves on trees. Aidan, having been mesmerized by tree-branch patterns during a winter hike in the Catskills, sought to investigate why. His hunch: "I knew that branches and leaves collected sunlight for photosynthesis, so my next experiments investigated if the Fibonacci pattern helped."
One thing led to another, and before you know it, this kid, three years from being eligible for a driver's license, had built a tree-like stand affixed with small solar panelsin the Fibonacci pattern. He compared its ability to collect sunlight to a flat-panel collector. And Nature won.
Summing up his research and imagining the possibilities, Aidan wrote: "The tree design takes up less room than flat-panel arrays and works in spots that don't have a full southern view. It collects more sunlight in winter. Shade and bad weather like snow don't hurt it because the panels are not flat. It even looks nicer because it looks like a tree. A design like this may work better in urban areas where space and direct sunlight can be hard to find."

More @ TreeHugger

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