As folks know, the Fibonacci sequence and its corresponding Golden Ratio can be observed throughout nature, from the arrangement of leaves on a stem to the spiraled florets on the head of a sunflower. But what about man-made Fibonacci sequences?
Here are some Fibonacci sequences I have observed that are created strictly from humans being human beings:
CHANGI AIRPORT, SINGAPORE 6:00 A.M.
Arriving for an early flight, I witness a terminal opening for the morning. The first security guard enters the security check. He walks through the metal detectors, passes his bags through the x-ray, and then runs the metal wand over his body. Then clips on his security badge.
Thus screened, the first security guard performs the same operation on the second security guard. While the new guard clips on his badge, the first guard screens a third guard. Now the first two guards screen two more while the third clips on his badge.
Factoring in the pause time while each newly screened guard clips on his badge and turns on equipment, I realize that the rate at which security guards pass each other through the security check is a Fibonacci sequence.
THE KISSING DISEASE
The incubation period for mononucleosis – the time between exposure to the contagion and the appearance of symptoms – is roughly one month. Once exposed to the virus, a person carries it for life and can theoretically pass it on for several years.
Thus, imagining a population in which (1) the “Kissing Disease” is introduced by a single person and (2) every person kisses exactly one new person each month, the spread of mono throughout the population is a Fibonacci Sequence.
- MONTH ONE: 1 carrier; 1 incubating
- MONTH TWO: 2 carriers; 1 incubating
- MONTH THREE: 3 carriers; 2 incubating
- MONTH FOUR: 5 carriers; 3 incubating
I witnessed the following Fibonacci Sequence at a Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. In a special ceremony, the minister turned off the church lights and distributed unlit candles to every member of the congregation.
The minister’s candle was the only lit candle. He used it to light the first candle in the first pew. While that person’s candle flame gathered strength, the minister lit a second person’s candle. Now two people could light candles while the third person’s flame gathered strength. Soon there were eight people with lit candles and five who could light other people’s candles. Thus the brightness of the dark room accelerated in accordance with the Fibonacci sequence.