18 July 2010

Fibonacci sequences for the kitchen

Fibonacci sequences make me lose control. My logo is based on a Fibonacci spiral and I still get woozy when I look at it. A Fibonacci sequence is an example of a divisibility sequence. That sounds more complicated than it is. As numerals, the first ten places in a Fibonacci sequence are 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 and 55. Starting with 0 and one, each subsequent number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two. It's that simple-looking sequence that describes the proportional relationship of things as diverse as the pattern of scales on a pine cone, the florets in a head of broccoli, the arrangement of branches of a tree and the whorls of a nautilus shell. It's the math that describes life.

Many thanks to the brilliant David Nolan who sent me a link to a set of Fibonacci knives. Yes, Fibonacci knives. Although the designer, Belgium-based Mia Schmallenbach calls them Nesting Knives.




"Meeting is a set of kitchen knives: paring knife, carving knife, chef's knife, filleting knife and a block. They all appear to be sculpted from a single piece of stainless steel. The proportions are determined by the Fibonacci sequence using the average width of a human hand as its base. " 
Made in France by Deglon.

14 comments:

  1. This is my "learn something new every day" lesson for today.

    What a beautiful set.

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  2. i got some sunflowers this morning and was explaining the theory to a friend. amazing.

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  3. I love the patterns that sit underneath everything in the known world, whether those patterns have been described or not. The inherent order of things thrills me almost as much as the apparent disorder.

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  4. I served romanesco last night (beside deep purple cauliflower). The grower at the farmer's market called it "Broccosaurus." My brother helped create a program called Math Aquarium back in the 70s I think. You'd probably love it if there's a way to still get it. Maybe on Breskin.com...

    http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue86/075_11_News_Products_Amiga_Math_Aquarium.php

    Thanks!

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  5. I find how that vegetable looks to be fascinatingly disruptive that I can't bring myself to eat it. It sits and I stare at it. Math in the natural world is mesmerizing!

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  6. This hurts my head a little to think about-- I don't do math. But I love the idea of using pattern language found in nature in the essence of design. Those knives are sculptural and I just love them! Isn't it interesting that our eye tends to seek elements in design that are fundamentally balanced in nature. Painless math.

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  7. That you don't do math is a function of the screwed up way math is taught. Math is pattern language and an equation has all of the beauty and majesty of a symphony or a great painting.

    I think I'm alone in that opinion though :)

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  8. Do you think that they perform better (weight, hand feel, etc) or do we not even care because they are so pretty? Being pretty is a completely acceptable answer.

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  9. I'd be curious to see that for myself. Knives have solid handles and blades out of tradition and to accommodate older, softer metals. It's entirely possible that these things have been engineered to feel and function like traditional knives. Even if that's just wishful thinking on my part, I think I'd end up hanging these on the wall as art and never use them even if they were the best-performing knives ever.

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  10. Don't go all mathematical on me Paul. That part of my gray-matter is brain dead.

    I am just happy to think of them as a beautiful work of engineering and art. -Brenda-

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  11. I don't think you are alone in your math obsession. I think Brian Meeks & John Poole are just as quirky as you! I'm with Her Sauceliness in that I think they are lovely shiny objects. I would happily slice and stab with these.
    You managed to explain the math so well that I "got" it. But now my head hurts.

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  12. "That you don't do math is a function of the screwed up way math is taught. Math is pattern language and an equation has all of the beauty and majesty of a symphony or a great painting."

    I know this post is a million years old, but since you said you thought you were alone in that opinion I had to post and say that I whole-heartedly agree with you. The order (and order-in-chaos) that underpins our world is breathtaking, and the foundations of logic and math hold enough beauty and paradox for a lifetime of enjoyment.

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  13. Thanks Caitlyn and sorry it took me so long to respond!

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  14. An exquisite arrangement and methodology for the kitchen knife set. For my part, I use a kitchen knife holder.

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