Leonard of Pisa or Fibonacci (c.1180-1250 Fibonacci means Son of Bonacci). An Italian mathematician, he popularized the use of Hindu-arabic numbers: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 plus the sign 0. . He worked in algebra and geometry and introduced the Fibonacci sequence where each number is the sum of the two previous numbers. In the 19th century, scientists began to discover the presence of the sequence in nature. For further exploration about Fibonacci, Mathematicians are People Too Volume 2 is an excellent reference.
For further exploration about the curve, try Fibonnaci Fun and Fasinating Fibonnacis.