Turing, Fibonacci and the sunflowers

posted by @ulaulaman about #FibonacciDay #AlanTuring #TuringSunflower
Today is the american Fibonacci's day, so it could be a good day to write something about one of the last work by Alan Turing.
One of a number of problems [Alan Turing] was trying to solve was the appearence of Fibonacci numbers in the structure of plants.(1)
The problem was knwon as the Fibonacci phyllotaxis, and we can state it in this way:
the spiral shapes on the heads of sunflowers seemed to follow the Fibonacci sequence, prompting [Turing's] proposal that by studying sunflowers we might better understand how plants grow
Turing wrote his interest in a letter to the zoologist JZ Young:
About the point (iii) Turing wrote in another letter:
Our new machine is to start arriving on Monday. I am hoping to do something about 'chemical embyology'. In particular I think I can account for the appearence of Fibonacci numbers in connection with fir-cones.(1)
The last year Jonathan Swinton, during the Manchester Science Festival in October, announced the results of the great experiment about the Turing's sunflower:
An happy Fibonacci's day!
(1) Swinton J. (2004). Watching the Daisies Grow: Turing and Fibonacci Phyllotaxis, Alan Turing: Life and Legacy of a Great Thinker, 477-498. DOI: (pdf)


  1. Great Post Doc,
    Clearly you're a fellow Alan Moore fan too!
    Here's how right Alan Turing was, it's not just a Biomimetic code, it's Cosmomimetic, or even Cosmogenesis (animate & inanimate nature), dare I say. http://about.me/asynsis
    #Asynsis #DaoOfDesign on #TED at #TEDxWanchai #HongKong. 
A New, Extremely Lean, Mean (#Design) #TheoryOfEverything

    1. Excuse me if I publish your comment only today, but I cannot during the previous week.
      In every case, your link seems interesting, in particular your TED talk.

  2. Here's the publication and data from the Turing's Sunflowers experiment: http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/3/5/160091


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