Feeding on fractals (and Fibonacci)

A few weeks ago I bought a cauliflower at the Alexandra Palace farmers’ market: not just any cauliflower, but a distinctive green one known as a Romanesco.  Naturally, given the need to cook an unusual vegetable, I turned the web: after all, the various suppliers of organic vegetable boxes who operate in London cater for a clientele who can Google any vegetable that they find in their box, and find a range of recipes.

So I was surprised to find that the Romanesco cauliflower is as notable for its mathematics as for its nutritional property.  First my search thew up this delightful image from a Cambridge physics professor , who had painted a Romenesco cauliflower to draw attention to the naturally occuring spiral patterns in it.  Then I found this piece about fractals on the supermarket shelf (the site’s name, Fourmilab, is a pun based on the French word for an ant).  And finally I came across this one, which relates the shape and symmetry of the vegetable to Fibonacci numbers.

I’m not sure what to conclude from this, except perhaps that the Internet is a better tool if you want to count the florets on a vegetable than if you want to eat it


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: