Dimensional Views [ 01.04 ] Special : Zero

Published: 10.02.2006
Updated: 02.07.2015

The story of the Point is the story of the number Zero (0)

Zero wasn't accepted as a real "number" for ages. The long story started when counting was done by stones on a board. Zero was used as a symbol for the impression of something which was there, but has left the place for "nothing".

To avoid cheating (or to recognize it) the board had a layer of sand.
So when a stone was set and taken away - the imprint in the sand kept visible:

  • There was something (a stone) - but now there is nothing (no stone).

This is one of the ways zero was understood in the beginning.

Another role zero plays is marking positions in the decimal system:

Doesn't it sound like a joke?
The more "nothing" (zeros) you find behind a figure, the higher it's value. 1 + 6 zeros (1000000) = 1 million.

Historical view:

Vedic mathematics of ancient India "invented" Zero, as well as the Babylonians and the Mayans

more views: A Brief History of Zero
A very nice book with a fascinating insider view: The Nothing That Is.
A Natural History Of Zero
,
Robert Kaplan
  • In the early years of modern science (mathematics) Zero (0) became finally accepted as a real number, step by step.



Special Qualities of Zero (0)

  • Deviding by zero is not allowed (not possible)
  • Multiplication with 0 always results in 0 (senseless)
  • Like water, zero seems to have aggregation states:
  • you can cross zero without any problem by subtraction & addition
    (zero in the aggregation state of "ice").

Mathematicians say:

  • you can approach zero infinitely,
    but you can never reach it completely.

For the moment, we keep a question mark for this point -?- to check it later.

Sources

© Christian & Carla Geerdes, Editors HereNow4U online magazine

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