The universe is made of math

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

plant math
This spiral aloe is a perfect example of how math is expressed in nature.

Usually, scientists use math to describe the world, but according to cosmologist Max Tegmark, everything in the universe is math, including living and nonliving entities. Since humans have an in-depth knowledge of numbers, every single thing in the universe can be understood and predicted in the living and nonliving world.

One example of how math is found in nature is a pattern known as the Fibonacci sequence. The principle is simple: If you start with the digit 0 and follow with the number 1, the next number is equal to the sum of the two numbers before it. For example, the first few numbers of the sequence are 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, which come from from the following pattern: 0+1=1, 1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+2=5, 5+3=8, and so on.

Plants, such as the spiral aloe, follow this Fibonacci sequence, where the distance from each petal to the next matches a similar sequence. Whoa! There is also math in the nonliving world. Every time an object moves, it obeys the basic laws of physics and motion. According to Tegmark, this is how researchers knew Neptune existed before they actually discovered the large planet! The cosmologist claims that once everyone accepts the world is math, the idea “starts to sound a little bit less insane.”


Featured image courtesy of Mammaoca2008 on Flickr. Image of spiral aloe courtesy of J Brew on Flickr.