The Different Names of Fibonacci
In 1175 AD, one of the greatest European mathematicians was born. His birth name was Leonardo Pisano. Pisano is Italian for the city of Pisa, which is where Leonardo was born. Leonardo wanted to carry his family name so he called himself Fibonacci, which is pronounced fib-on-arch-ee. Guglielmo Bonnacio was Leonardo's father. Fibonacci is a nickname, which comes from filius Bonacci, meaning son of Bonacci. However, occasionally Leonardo would us Bigollo as his last name. Bigollo means traveler. I will call him Leonardo Fibonacci, but if anyone who does any research work on him may find the other names listed in older books.
Guglielmo Bonaccio, Leonardo's father, was a customs officer in Bugia, which is a Mediterranean trading port in North Africa. He represented the merchants from Pisa that would trade their products in Bugia. Leonardo grew up in Bugia and was educated by the Moors of North Africa. As Leonardo became older, he traveled quite extensively with his father around the Mediterranean coast. They would meet with many merchants. While doing this Leonardo learned many different systems of mathematics. Leonardo recognized the advantages of the different mathematical systems of the different countries they visited. But he realized that the “Hindu-Arabic” system of mathematics had many more advantages than all of the other systems combined. Leonardo stopped travelling with his father in the year 1200. He returned to Pisa and began writing.
Books by Fibonacci
Leonardo wrote numerous books regarding mathematics. The books include his own contributions, which have become very significant, along with ancient mathematical skills that needed to be revived. Only four of his books remain today. His books were all handwritten so the only way for a person to obtain one in the year 1200 was to have another handwritten copy made. The four books that still exist are Liber abbaci, Practica geometriae, Flos, and Liber quadratorum. Leonardo had written several other books, which unfortunately were lost. These books included Di minor guisa and Elements. Di minor guisa contained information on commercial mathematics. His book Elements was a commentary to Euclid’s Book X. In Book X, Euclid had approached irrational numbers from a geometric perspective. In Elements, Leonardo utilized a numerical treatment for the irrational numbers. Practical applications such as this made Leonardo famous among his contemporaries.
Leonardo’s book Liber abbaci was published in 1202. He dedicated this book to Michael Scotus. Scotus was the court astrologer to the Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick II. Leonardo based this book on the mathematics and algebra that he had learned through his travels. The name of the book Liber abbaci means book of the abacus or book of calculating. This was the first book to introduce the Hindu-Arabic place value decimal system and the use of Arabic...