Sunflower grown as part of citizen science project

Made:
2012

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Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Sunflower seed head grown by Manchester City Council in 2012 as part of the citizen science project 'Turing's Sunflowers'. Named as 'Sunflower 667', this was the only seed head not to follow the Fibonacci sequence.

In the summer of 2012, the Museum of Science & Industry (as it was then) commissioned a citizen science project ‘Turing’s Sunflowers’ to mark the centenary of Alan Turing’s birth. Turing, a mathematician who lived and worked in the Manchester area during the late 1940s and early 1950s, observed that the spirals of seeds in the sunflower head follow a mathematical pattern known as the Fibonacci sequence.

Members of the public were invited to grow their own sunflowers to study the pattern of spirals in the seed head. ‘Sunflower 667’ was grown by Manchester City Council and was the only seed head without the Fibonacci structure, reported for the first time by this study. This failure of the pattern is important for understanding developmental mechanisms in plant biology.

The marks on the seed head were made by the person counting as a counting guide.

Details

Category:
Scientific Instruments & Research
Object Number:
2021-5
type:
sunflower