Zero

Fulfils a central role in mathematics as the additive identity of the integers, real numbers, and many other algebraic structures.

Historical Notes

  1. ~3000BC Babylonians begin to use a sexagesimal number system - this is a place-value system without a zero place value.
  2. 876BC A symbol to represent zero was first used in India.
  3. ~700 Mathematicians in the Mayan civilization introduce a symbol for zero into their number system.
  4. 950 Gerbert of Aurillac (later Pope Sylvester II) reintroduces the abacus into Europe. He uses Indian/Arabic numerals without having a zero.
  5. 1149 Al-Samawal writes al-Bahir fi'l-jabr - he develops algebra with polynomials using negative powers and zero.
  6. ~1200 Chinese start to use a symbol for zero.

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Subjects: Algebra