A Short Animated History of Zero (0): How It Started in India, Then Made Its Journey to the West

in Math | April 20th, 2016

Zilch. Nada. Bupkis. Yes, I’m taking about Zero (0), a number that seems so essential to our system of numbers, and yet it hasn’t always enjoyed such a privileged place. Far from it.

In this short animation, Britain’s venerable Royal Institution traces the history of zero, a number that emerged in seventh century India, before making its way to China and Islamic countries, and finally penetrating Western cultures in the 13th century. Only later did it become the cornerstone of calculus and the language of computing.

India, we owe you thanks.

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  1. Narendra Nath says . . .
    May 6, 2016 / 8:54 pm

    Zero is discovered but it is yet to be evaluated! What its magnitude is, ‘nothing’. But then it is not measurable! If instruments can not detect it, then how to evaluate it. It can then become variable in magnitude, depending on the sensitivity of the instrument! Thus, it can not be a reference point like other numbers! Uncertainties in fact rule our material world and we have no answer to understand completely anything we may decide to investigate! Ultimate truth does not exist and we talk only of relative truths!

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