Monday, October 11, 2021

The Invention of Zero

When was the zero invented? It appears to have been around 0 AD, except that there was no such year. The year after 1 BC was 1 AD. It did not reach Europe until about 1200 AD.

I would have said that modern mathematicians agree that zero is a natural number, but I find that the world's smartest mathematician disagrees. He likes multiplicative number theory, where zero is avoided. I am pretty sure all the logicians would say that zero is a natural number.

Here is a new video on the subject: Is Zero More Than Nothing? Introducing the Zero Project

Closer To Truth 358K subscribers

Like the domestication of fire and the invention of the wheel, the concept of zero changed the course of human history. Yet zero’s origin remains shrouded in mystery.

Closer To Truth and Robert Lawrence Kuhn explore the mystery with The Zero Project, a group of international researchers searching for evidence of the invention of the numeral zero. Join the global expedition with expert guides from across diverse cultures and a range of specialty fields. In the quest for zero, visit far-flung places lost in time: North and South Africa, Central America, the Middle East, South-, Southeast, and Far East Asia.

Learn more about the project at

The invention of the numeral 0, and the number 0, seem like two different things. The numeral 0 was invented to allow base 10 numeric representation, like 100, a huge advance over Roman numerals. The number 0 is for the quantity 1-1.

I don't know how anyone can think clearly about anything, without the concept of zero.

The video says emptiness is important in Indian philosophy.

1 comment:

  1. Zero is also the most misused 'number', even more so than the symbol for infinity. Huge swaths of math hide from scrutiny in these blatant misuses. Many conflate small with zero, and others like to pretend you can divide by zero to get whatever fantastical results you like if you look the other way and cough while spouting gobbledygook... especially if you want diddle around with space time and black holes.