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Zero: Origin


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Zero: Its origin in India and its acceptance by the rest of the world.

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Zero: Origin

  1. 1. ‘Zero’ the ingenuity of our fore-fathers Zero is a strange number and one of the greatest paradoxes of human thought. It means both everything and nothing. Without zero, not just mathematics, but all branches of sciences would have struggled for clearer definitions. Zero is a tiny number but never ignore it!!!
  2. 2. Origin of Zero • Perhaps, the word zero probably came from the Sanskrit word shunyam or the Hindi equivalent shunya. The word shunyam was translated to Arabic as Al- sifer. Fibonacci mentioned it as cifra from which we have our present day cipher, meaning empty space. From this original Italian word or from the alteration of Medieval Latin zephirum, the present word zero might have originated.
  3. 3. Existence of Zero • Initially, zero was not considered a number. There was the idea of empty space, which may be thought conceptually similar to zero. • Babylonians around 700 BC used two hooks to denote an empty space in the positional notation.
  4. 4. Zero in India • Around AD 650, the use of zero as a number came into Indian mathematics. • The Indians used a place- value system and zero was used to denote an empty space. • Aryabhata devised a number system, which had no zero, as a positional system, but used to denote empty space. There is evidence that a dot had been used in earlier manuscripts to denote an empty space in positional notation.
  5. 5. Mathematicians of India Post-Vedic Sanskrit to Pala period mathematicians (5th c. BC to 11th c. AD) • Aryabhata - Astronomer who gave accurate calculations for astronomical constants, 476AD-520AD • Aryabhata II • Bhaskara I • Brahmagupta - Helped bring the concept of zero into arithmetic (598 AD-670 AD) • Bhāskara II • Mahavira • Pavuluri Mallana - the first Telugu Mathematician • Varahamihira • Shridhara (between 650-850) - Gave a good rule for finding the volume of a sphere. Born in 1800s • Ramchandra (1821–1880) • Ganesh Prasad (1876–1935) • Srinivasa Lyengana Ramanujan (1887–1920) • A. A. Krishnaswami Ayyangar (1892–1953)
  6. 6. From India to the World • The Islamic and the Arabic mathematicians took the idea of the indian mathematicians further west. Al-Khwarizmi described the Indian place- value system of numerals based on zero and other numerals. Ibn Ezra, in the 12th century, wrote The Book of the Number, which spread the concepts of the Indian numeral symbols and decimal fractions to Europe.
  7. 7. Acceptance of Zero • The concept of zero took some time for acceptance. It was only around 1600 that zero began to come into widespread use after encountering a lot of support and also criticism from mathematicians from the world.
  8. 8. Unique Number • The number 0 is neither positive nor negative and appears in the middle of a number line. It is neither a prime number nor a composite number. It cannot be a prime because it has infinite number of factors and cannot be expressed by multiplying prime numbers (0 must always be one of the factors).
  9. 9. Mighty Naught • The power of zero is sequenced in the following expression. The number in each power indicates the number of zeros that should follow after 1.
  10. 10. S. Ramanujan • Srīnivāsa Rāmānujan was an Indian mathematician and autodidact who, with almost no formal training in pure mathematics, made extraordinary contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinity series and continued fractions. Ramanujan was said to be a natural genius by the English mathematician G.H. Hardy, in the same league as mathematicians like Euler and Gauss. • Once Hardy arrived at Ramanujan's residence in a cab numbered 1729. Hardy commented that the number 1729 seemed to be uninteresting. Ramanujan is said to have stated on the spot that it was actually a very interesting number mathematically, being the smallest natural number representable in two different ways as a sum of two positive cubes: