Pau Atela-Cortés is Associate
Professor of Mathematics at Smith College, Northampton, MA.
He earned his Ph.D. at Boston University in the area of complex dynamics.

At the symposium, he will take us on a botanical
tour from sphere packing to fractals, which he vigorously explores together with his students:

"A Dynamical System in
Phyllotaxis"
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Abstract__

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Pine cones, sunflowers, artichokes, daisies... A great number of
plants exhibit spirals that appear in two sets according to their
orientation, clockwise and counterclockwise. The study of these
arrangements is called Phyllotaxis. Most often, when counting the spirals
in each set, we get a pair of consecutive Fibonacci numbers. (These are 1,
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21,... each the sum of the previous two.) We will talk
about a simple mathematical model of meristem growth based on Dynamical
Systems theory, which might give us insights into this remarkable
phenomenon observed for centuries.

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