April 30 2016



Zero is synonym for the word none, meaning nothing, but zero plays a very important factor in our daily life and has great importance in mathematics and other subjects. The origin or invention of zero seems a bit mysterious as there are many claims and stories behind its first existence or invention and to properly unwind this sotry you need to go all the way back  to the 3rd century BC. Zero may have no value when you see it as a single character, but when it is added to other characters, it can totally change the meaning and worth.

Abu Abdullah Mohammad Ibn Musa al Khwarizmi ,  mathematician, astronomer, geographer and influential in the formation of algebra and who was borned in 780 (died in 850 CE) had something meangingful to share regardind the concept of zero. Al Khwarizmi explained the use of zero. He introduced the Indian system of numerals, commonly known as the Arabic numeral system,  which through his work was introduced first to the Arabs through translations and later introduced to the west. Al Khwarizmi one book which was later translated in early twelth century into Latin was basically focusing on arithematics and was called “Kitab al Jam’a wal – Tafreeq bil Hisaab al Hindi” (“The Book of Addition and Subtraction According to the Hindu Calculation”).

The people of Europe in those very early days were literally in the Dark Ages in many ways. They only came to know about the concept of zero when they performed trade with the Arab  in 8th Century. The Arabs were, as we mentioned above, guided and trained by Al Khwarizmi.  Indian mathematician and astronomer, Aryabhata, around 9th century C.E is considered to be the founder of Zero. There is no doubt from Al Khwarizmi work and other Arabs scholars that this area was quite rich in knowledge. Inf act “Sindh” which is a province of Pakistan, was considered “Bab-Ul-Islam” and people from Arab use to come to this region to gain knowledge. Pakistan and India were one country before 1947. Also some historian believe that the word “Shunya” (Which is an Indian word for zero) was translated in Arabic as “Sifr” meaning nothing. The arabic word “Sifr” was later translated to “Zephyr” in Latin and then it was evolved to the recent word “Zero”.

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