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Fibonacci born 1170, died 1250 in Pisa, Italy

Fibonacci's real name was Leonardi di Pisa. He lived in the 13th century in Italy, and wrote a very famous mathematical book Liber Abaci   - meaning Book on Calculation (abaci-abacus).

Fibonacci was sometimes called Bigollo, which means 'traveller' and is it very probable that he got this nickname because he was travelling a lot. But Bigollo also means 'good-for-nothing' so - who knows... Leonardo Pisano is better known as Fibonacci - son of the Bonaccis... and his other name Pisano comes from the place where he lived most of his life, Pisa, which is famous for its leaning tower. Building of the tower began when Fibonacci was three.

He is most famous for his description of the number sequence, which in 19th century was given the name 'Fibonacci numbers' after its inventor. The sequence is made by starting with two ones, and adding them up, then to make every new term the previous two terms need to be added together.   It starts like this

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, and so on...

He described this number sequence in relation to the way rabbits breed:

A man puts a pair of baby rabbits into an enclosed garden. Assuming each pair of rabbits bears a new pair every month, which from the second month on itself becomes productive, how many pairs of rabbits will there   be in the garden after one year?

As a young man, Fibonacci travelled with his father who was a big merchant. Fibonacci's father was a representative of the merchants of Pisa, who imported and exported materials from and to northern Africa, mainly a place Bugia, now in Algeria. During one of these travels Fibonacci learnt mathematics known there.  

He wrote a very famous book Liber abaci   in 1202 to describe mathematics he learnt on his travels. He mentioned in this book that in Algeria he learnt Indian's number symbols, and also what he called Indian accounting. It was in Liber abaci that Fibonacci first described his now famous numbers, through the problem of rabbits.



Fibonacci was born in Pisa, which is famous for its leaning tower. Click on the tower to find some other famous places from the history of mathematics.

It was actually built (or most of it) during Fibonacci's life.


Did you know that rabbits are quite famous in mathematics? Read the main article to find out why... or click on the rabbit for a worksheet.


Click on the number man to download some worksheets on Fibonacci and his number sequence.


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