Saturday, 18 January 2014

The great ' Zero '.

If you subtract 10 from 10 what do you get ?
There  comes the answer  "Zero".
 If you take five from five you will get ......Yes again 'zero'.

Even though numbers were used  by the ancient Egypts, Mayans, Arabs ,they were not sure of this zero. They wondered how could ' nothing '  be ' something '. They used the words,vacum, naught, nil, void whenever they had to use zero. Sometimes they used the letter ' N ' too.

Now comes the interesting question.
Then, how  did the world come to know about 'Zero'? 

It was around  the 5th century that the world accepted zero. That contribution was from our(India) mathematician and astronomer  'Arya Bhatta'. He treated '0' as a number and discussed operations involving it including division.

AryaBhatta  is also called as BrahmaGupta. It is said he was born in Ashmaka .This region lies  betwen Narmada and Godavari .This is now identified with  Maharashtra  . There is also another opinion that he was born in Kerala. Wherever he may be born , he went to  Kusumapura for higher studies. Bhaskara, his disciple  identifies  this place with Pataliputra which is now called as  Patna. His higher studies were in Nalanda University in Patna. Later he also became the head of this famous university.Though  he did not explicitly  mention zero as a number, the French mathematician Georges Ifrah argues that  the knowledge of zero was implicit in Aryabhata's place value system.

He authored many books which are lost. His major work 'Aryabhatiya ' is a blend of astronomy and mathematics. Aryabhata was able to tell us the diameter of the earth, much before Galelio did.  His famous disciple was Bhaskara who was also well versed in these theories.

As a mark of honour, Government of India  named its first satellite as Aryabhata  and the next one as Bhaskara .

image courtesy-google.


  1. What an interesting story about India! Keep writing more posts as always!

    1. Thankyou Arvind for your comments. Let me post as often as I can.