Originally posted on TED Blog:

 Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin says that there are three reasons we learn math: calculation, application and inspiration. Yes, inspiration.

[ted_talkteaser id=199]Math is the science of patterns, and learning it teaches us not just logic but creative thinking, says Benjamin. So why, when math is beautiful and exciting, is so much of what we learn in school about preparing for tests or passing on to the next grade?

To highlight this point, Benjamin introduces us to Fibonacci numbers — a name-drop that gets loud applause on the TEDGlobal stage. The person we call Fibonacci was actually “named” Leonardo of Pisa and he pioneered much of the arithmetic we use. The Fibonacci sequence is:

1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 …

[ted_talkteaser id=587] Each number in the sequence is the sum of the two that came before it. This sequence of numbers occurs in nature surprisingly often (like in…

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