Senior Anna Biggs wins national Cum Laude Society Paper competition

Senior Anna BIggs leads into her essay about Fibonaccis sequence by describing the mustard mane of a sunflower.

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Senior Anna BIggs leads into her essay about Fibonacci’s sequence by describing the “mustard mane” of a sunflower.

Amodhya Samarakoon, Chief Design Manager

Biggs wins the competition for an essay she wrote titled Finding Beauty in Sunflowers, 20th Century Music, and Breeding Rabbits: Fibonacci’s Golden Sequence.

Her paper, written for a non-fiction writing seminar class, was an analysis of the Fibonacci’s sequence which applies to numbers, nature, music, and art. Biggs is the first student from St. Paul Academy and Summit School to receive this prestigious award given by the Cum Laude Society.

“The papery leaves of a sunflower rustle in God’s morning yawn. Its head droops wearily from the weight of a mustard mane of petals. Behind a veil of coral ink-soaked clouds, enough dawn peeks through to shed light upon a face of spiraling seeds.”

The following excerpt is from the beginning of Biggs’ third paragraph where she begins to describe Fibonacci’s problem about rabbits that ties into Fibonacci’s sequence.

“Yet Fibonacci’s cultural legacy rests not in the magnitude of the Indi-Arabic arithmetic revolution that his book created, but instead in a single, whimsical puzzle meant to give readers practice using the new number system. The problem is nestled in Liber abbaci’s chapter 12 between two hypothetical questions about the division of food and money, and reads:

A certain man had one pair of rabbits together in a certain enclosed place, and one wishes to know how many are created from the pair in one year when it is the nature of them in a single month to bear another pair, and in the second month those born to bear also (Devlin 144).

This final piece from Bigg’s work is her last paragraph which wraps up a couple key ideas from her essay about the sequence.

The Fibonacci Sequence: math but still art. The pattern of life. Both a puzzle and an explanation, both unequivocal and abstract. Beauty. What is the philosophical meaning of a world constructed on a single series of numbers? No pragmatic scientific explanation has emerged as of yet, but hopefully the work of scientists and philosophers will yield one in the future. Meanwhile, we must merely be content to marvel.

Congratulations Biggs on this wonderful achievement.