I may have to revise my thoughts about US education approaching failure mode. Whether it's due to the schools... or his parents and environment, a Middle School boy has discovered how to increase solar energy collected by flat panels, and has been granted a provisional patent for his work.
Middle School student Aidan Dwyer applied the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical principle widely occurring in nature, to solar panel arrays in a months-long backyard experiment. He found that small solar panels arranged according to the Fibonacci sequence found in tree branches produced 20 percent more energy than flat panel arrays, and prolonged the collection 'window' by up to two and a half hours.
Here's a news story about the lad:
Here's an in-depth report about his research, and both the above photos are from this site, posted here for educational purposes:
I've been intrigued by the Fibronacci sequence for a long time, and a few years ago I designed a house modeled on the Fibronacci sequence in a Chambered Nautilus shell.
More information on Fibonacci Numbers in Nature: