Our theme was the awe-inspiring beauty and intricate patterns to be found in even the tiniest parts of creation - like a bracken frond uncurling to reveal all the smaller leaves within it. On the day, though, the mathematical patterns were what we talked about, this being one way in which God's fingerprints are revealed.
We started off passing round a basket of pine cones and permanent markers. The challenge was to observe and draw in the spiral patterns we could find in the patterns of the scales. We mostly counted 8 or 13 spirals, but the number 21 was also found.
Looking at these numbers some people recognised them as belonging to the Fibonacci sequence, which starts 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21... Each number in the sequence is generated by adding the two previous numbers in the sequence together. These special numbers pop up in the natural world everywhere, in petals, leaves, branches and pine cones! These numbers also draw a very nice spiral as you can see from one of the photos. The result of dividing adjacent Fibonacci numbers converges on an irrational number called the Golden Ratio that begins 1.61803398875 and this number is deliberately used in art, architecture and design as the proportions are very pleasing.
We discussed how beautiful these patterns (of form and number) are, and how for some of us finding out about these patterns turns our hearts towards worship of our Creator God. Romans 1:20 says "God’s eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made."
It seemed to strike a chord with quite a few people, that “Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe”, to quote Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer and physicist. We then spent time either looking for patterns in the leaves, bracken and flowers to be found or studying the tadpoles which were teeming in the nearby "mare" (pond). The weather was glorious so we were in no hurry to return back to the car park for refreshments!