# What Is The Evolution Of Zero Essay

2496 Words 10 Pages
Abstract— This article will briefly discuss the evolution of zero throughout history starting from ancient Mesopotamian mathematics to modern day mathematics. Understanding the concept of zero and learning to work with it is the basis of our world today. If zero did not exist then we would not have calculus, financial accounting, and the ability to make simple arithmetic calculations. The idea of zero has crossed the imagination of great minds across the globe. Zero functions as a placeholder and the amount of zeroes after a digit can drastically change the value of the number just imagine if one adds or even removes a zero from their salary.

Index Terms— Zero, Mesopotamia, Mayan, Brahmagupta, Al-Khwarizmi, Fibonacci, Descartes.

I. Introduction
Fibonacci grew up in North Africa and was educated by Moors who were African Muslims of Berber and Arab descent. He met with numerous merchants and learned their systems of computing arithmetic, and soon realized the various advantages of the Hindu-Arabic system over all the other systems. Fibonacci was one of the first people to introduce the Hindu-Arabic number system into Europe. It was the positional system that we currently use today based on ten digits with its decimal point and most importantly a symbol for zero. In the new system the order of the number mattered since for example, twenty-five is completely different than fifty-two. The position of each digit was significant, therefore zero was needed to get digits into their correct places. For example, writing two thousand and five required two zeroes in order for two to be in the thousand place value, and five in the ones place value and there are no numbers in the tens and hundreds place value [11]. German bankers and Italian merchants took notice of Fibonacci’s developments with the use of zero. Accountants knew their books were balanced when the positive and negative amounts of their assets and liabilities equaled zero, but governments were not accepting of the Arabic numerals. Suspicion about the Arabic numerals existed among government officials due to the possible ability to change one symbol …show more content…
In the Mayan and Mesoamerican culture, a shell represented the number zero and it was the symbol for nothing. Zero was used as a marker in the Mayan long count calendar. Greek astronomers and merchants began to use the symbol O as the notation for zero, but historians disagreed on why this specific notation was used. Brahmagupta indicated that zero stood for nothing and defined it as the result of subtracting a number from itself. He wrote a book explaining the rules of how zero worked, and gave rules for arithmetical operations among negative and positive numbers. Al-Khwarizmi was the first to synthesize Indian arithmetic and show how zero can function in algebraic equations. He named zero sifr who was later used to derive the word cipher. Fibonacci introduced the Hindu-Arabic number system to Europe, and German bankers and Italian merchants took notice of his developments with the use of the number zero. Government officials outlawed the use of zero, but it did not stop merchants from using zero in encrypted messages. The encrypted zero messages led to the derivation of the word cipher from the Arabic word for zero, sifr. Descartes founded the Cartesian coordinate system and assigned the origin the value of (0,0). He allowed zero and calculus to enter the mathematical picture, which was the initial step towards calculus before Newton

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