LEONARDO PISANO FIBONACCI
Leonardo Pisano is better known by his nickname Fibonacci. He was the son of Guilielmo and a member of the Bonacci family. Fibonacci himself sometimes used the name Bigollo, which may mean good-for-nothing or a traveller. Fibonacci was born in Italy but was educated in North Africa where his father, Guilielmo, held a diplomatic post. His father's job was to represent the merchants of the Republic of Pisa who were trading in Bugia, later called Bougie and now called Bejaia. Bejaia is a Mediterranean port in northeastern Algeria. The town lies at the mouth of the Wadi Soummam near Mount Gouraya and Cape Carbon. Fibonacci was taught mathematics in Bugia and travelled widely with his father and recognised the enormous advantages of the mathematical systems used in the countries they visited. Fibonacci ended his travels around the year 1200 and at that time he returned to Pisa. There he wrote a number of important texts which played an important role in reviving ancient mathematical skills and he made significant contributions of his own. Fibonacci lived in the days before printing, so his books were hand written and the only way to have a copy of one of his books was to have another hand-written copy made. Of his books we still have copies of Liber abaci (1202), Practica geometriae (1220), Flos (1225), and Liber quadratorum. Given that relatively few hand-made copies would ever have been produced, we are fortunate to have access to his writing in these works. However, we know that he wrote some other texts which, unfortunately, are lost. One might have thought that at a time when Europe was little interested in scholarship, Fibonacci would have been largely ignored. This, however, is not so and widespread interest in his work undoubtedly contributed strongly to his importance. Fibonacci was a contemporary of Jordanus but he was a far more sophisticated mathematician and his achievements were clearly...