Math is one of those things we’re all taught at a young age, and told that it’ll come in handy someday.
We never believed our teachers, but a 13-year old boy certainly took that information to heart, and used the Fibonacci Sequence to create an efficient solar array.
The mathematical integer sequence, named after Leonardo Fibonacci, is a system of numbers that has multiple forms and identities, and is also found in nature. The sequence has many applications, including number generators, parallel computing, number conversion, etc.
Aidan Dwyer, a 13-year old 7th grader from New York, went hiking in the Catskill Mountains and observed his surroundings, noticing the Fibonacci Sequence occurring in the trees around him. He assumed it had something to do with photosynthesis, and decided to re-create the design of an Oak Tree back at his home.
During his experiment, he discovered that the tree generated more energy during the low points of the sun than it did when the sun was at its peak. He determined that the tree’s Fibonacci design allowed it to collect sunlight efficiently, even when leaves were covered in shade.
Ultimately, Aidan’s solar array design will likely change the way we manufacture and install solar panels, especially in areas with low-light conditions. If a teenager not even graduated from middle school can invent such a technological breakthrough, it stands to reason that, with this new information, researchers will take Aidan’s findings and make amazing things from them.
At the moment, there are hundreds of solar companies set up around the country, as well as the globe. One of the largest in the U.S. is Solar City, owned by SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk. If he hasn’t yet, I’m sure he’ll be receiving all sorts of letters from colleges soon.
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