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Sunflower growers needed for maths experiment
1:27pm Thursday 11th October 2012 in News
THE leaders of an educational scheme have asked people who grew sunflowers this summer to consider donating them as part of an experiment started by code breaker Alan Turing.
Earlier this year Darlington Learning Zone students, based at the Imperial Centre, in Grange Road, Darlington, started growing sunflowers in order to take part in an experiment to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Turing, the wartime code breaker and mathematician.
Turing believed that the numbers of spirals on sunflower seed heads were part of a mathematical sequence called the Fibonacci numbers, named after the 13th Century mathematician.
After the war Turing tried to test his hypothesis but did not collect enough data to verify it before he died, so Manchester University has launched this worldwide sunflower spiral count to see if he was right.
The Learning Zone students are now ready to start counting their spirals, but had mixed results in the garden due to the wet summer.
Anyone who has grown sunflowers and would like to add them to the collection to help the research can taken them to the Imperial Centre when the petals have dropped and the seeds are visible.
Size does not matter; the experiement relies on variation. The scheme will host a counting day at the Imperial Centre on Saturday between 3.30pm and 5pm.
For more information on the experiment visit turingsunflowers.com, or call 01325-467770.