Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

Do the Math

Date: 15 February 2018
Category: History, Homophones

I recently picked up a copy of an interesting biography about a brilliant Italian named Leonardo–no, not da Vinci–but the much lesser known, Leonardo of Pisa. You may know him also as Fibonacci. You know: Fibonacci.

In case you don’t, the book is entitled: Finding Fibonacci: the Quest to Rediscover the Forgotten Mathematical Genius Who Changed the World.

His biographer, Keith Devlin, goes on a 10-year search to learn and explain the genius of Leonardo. While arithmetic originated in India, Fibonacci (c. 1175 – c. 1250)  was the first to introduce it to the Western world and to explain mathematical ideas at a level ordinary people could understand. Fibonacci was long forgotten after his death, yet modern finance can be traced back to him, which, in turn, helped to revive the West as the cradle of science, technology, and commerce.

The Pisan is best known for his integer sequence, called the Fibonacci sequence, and is characterized by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding ones:

Meanwhile, in another part of 13th century Italy, a fashion statement was being made with the introduction of a Venetian gold coin called a zecchino being sewn onto clothes in great numbers as a decoration, and to denote wealth. This application also worked as a practical way to create a sort of portable bank account. To prevent theft, travelers would simply sew coins directly on their person and remove them as need be.

Today we know these zecchini (plural form) in English as: sequins.








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