Aidan Dwyer

PopTech 2011

Aidan Dwyer, age 13, was one of twelve students to receive the 2011 Young Naturalist Award from the American Museum of Natural History in New York for creating an innovative approach to collecting sunlight in photovoltaic arrays. Dwyer’s investigation into the mathematical relationship of the arrangement of branches and leaves in deciduous trees led to his discovery that these species utilized the Fibonacci Sequence in their branch and leaf design. Dwyer transformed this organic concept into a photovoltaic array based upon the Fibonacci pattern of an oak tree and conducted experiments comparing his design to conventional solar panel arrays. After computer analysis, Dwyer discovered that his Fibonacci tree design surpassed the performance of conventional methods in sunlight collection and utilized the greatest quantity of PV panels within the least amount of physical space, making it a versatile and aesthetically pleasing solution for confined and obstructed urban areas.