# 16 curiosities about the number zero

We count to ten. Or up to twenty. Or up to a thousand. Why did the number start? Certainly not from scratch.

Today, it may seem like a normal, everyday thing that we use in many parts of our life. however, zero is one of the most special numbers that exist.

For, in fact, we are dealing with a non-number, since numbers serve to indicate the existence of a quantity of something (we are talking about measuring the number of elements, or the degree of existence of a certain property), while zero means its absence. In order to improve your understanding of this strange number, you can see below a number of 16 curiosities about the number zero.

## 16 curiosities and aspects related to the number zero

Below you can see some of everything that makes the number zero so fascinating in math. If you know anyone else, feel free to share it in the comments box.

### 1. Zero has two basic functions

We frequently use zero in our daily life. However, we usually don’t think about its functions. Mainly two can be highlighted.

First of all, zero as such it is representative of nothing, The non-existence of a characteristic, property or object. However, the existence or non-existence of nothingness is one of the philosophical unknowns that has historically sparked great discussion. Can there be something which, by definition, is not to exist? In fact, this theme dates back at least to the time of pre-Socratic thinkers, especially Heraclitus and Parmenides.

The second of the functions is to serve as a position element to mark a position that allows you to move to the next decimal, which involves establishing a discussion about when you can move from one decimal to the next. Theoretically, everything can be divided into infinite times.

### 2. The zero as such is a relatively recent invention

Although it seems normal and commonplace today, zero as such was not formulated as a mathematical concept. until around the 5th century. Cultures as advanced as Greek or Roman had no spelling for the concept of nothingness, considering the idea of ​​mathematically conceptualizing unnecessary and even illogical non-existence.

Its application is attributed to the Hindu mathematician Aryabhata, Although some pre-Columbian cultures such as the Mayans also used similar concepts (it was symbolized, for example, in the form of a shell). It is important to note that what we hear is that what is new is the use of zero as a mathematical element, since the concept of nothingness has been taken into account since antiquity.

### 3. In ancient Babylon, positional zero already existed

While, as we said above, a large number of ancient cultures did not have specific spellings to represent the absence of something, in some cases if there were elements to indicate the presence relatively large amounts, like 505. In ancient Babylon, this was not the case. have a graph to talk about vacuum, but to distinguish the quantities (not the same 505 as 55) they used two small wedges with which to separate the numbers.

While in this case we may think that we are indicating a quantity in which we have hundreds and ones but not tens, a certain quantity is expressed in the background, so this substitute for zero would just be positional. Also in Sumerian civilization, they had a mechanism that they used as a positional zero, leaving an empty space between the symbols that represented the numbers.

### 4. Some animals are able to understand the concept

Although understanding the concept of nothingness requires a high level of abstraction, it has been shown through various experiments that humans he is not the only one who can take it into account. Other primates and even some birds like parrots have demonstrated sufficient cognitive ability to recognize when there is nothing.

### 5. It has properties which make classification difficult

While this aspect is perhaps widely known to most, zero has a number of mathematically curious properties. For example, it cannot be classified either among positive numbers or among negative numbers, As it is only indicative of a vacuum. It is neither even nor odd. However, it falls under rational and natural numbers, being mathematically obtained.

### 6. Although calculable and mathematically accessible, it has specific properties.

In the mathematical aspect, performing operations with this figure reflects aspects that may seem strange. For example, adding or subtracting zero to something has no effect (while logically it might seem normal, adding or subtracting mathematically should involve some variation).

Multiplication by zero will always result in nothing, and division by this number is a mathematical indeterminacy (usually giving an infinite result). Likewise, raising a quantity to zero will result in unity.

### 7. Its name comes from Arabic, just like the word encryption

The concept of zero has reached our culture by Arab mathematicians, Those who disseminate the concepts developed by the Hindus. The word zero comes from the Arabic word sifr (meaning to be empty), which would eventually drift into our zero and which, in the same way, would give rise to the word figure. Likewise, the word sifr would be taken from the Sanskrit shunya, which does not mean anything.

### 8. There is no year zero in our calendar.

The calendar that much of the western population uses today is called the Gregorian calendar. According to this calendar, we are currently in 2017 AD. The starting point of this calendar is therefore the more or less approximate date on which it is estimated that he was born.

However, this starting point is not year zero, but on the calendar it goes directly from year 1 BC to year 1 AD This is because we order the time from the ordinal elements, from the first to the most recent.

### 9. Time, in general, does not contemplate the existence of a zero

In view of the above, we can realize that in fact, time is a fluid thing that we cannot stop at any time. While it may be possible, we do not know of any period in which there was no time. Therefore, zero as a symbol of nothingness it couldn’t be applied to things like weather unless we are referring to aspects such as the direct start of an activity or event.

### 10. Zero in IT

In an increasingly technologically advanced world, the computer language is more and more familiar to all. This language is based on binary code, which only uses 0 and 1. However, these numbers do not represent a quantity, but they act as opening or closing indicators, The true or the false. In principle, any other symbol could be possible.

### 11. Absolute zero

It is very likely that we have heard of the term absolute zero. this concept is related to the world of thermodynamics. This would be the lowest temperature that can exist, which corresponds to -273 degrees Celsius or 0 degrees Kelvin.

However, this temperature is theoretical and cannot be reached experimentally.

### 12. Severity … zero?

We generally think of zero gravity as the absence of gravity, As for astronauts in space or in zero gravity. However, in neither of these cases is the force of gravity zero, although weaker than usual. Weightlessness is achieved when the environment around us and ourselves are attracted by the same acceleration towards gravitational bodies.

### 13. The madman’s letter

One of the major arcana, the fool, is a tarot card that is often considered arcane zero due to the need for what it represents in order to constitute itself. And it is that for there to be something, it must not have been had. It represents the unconscious, madness, impulsiveness, the irrational. It is also a reflection of innovation and the ability to dream and also to create the spiritual.

### 14. Zero would take a long time to appear in Europe

The decimal base numbering system we use today, of Arabic origin, was introduced in Europe by Fibonacci. However, although Leonardo of Pisa (real Fibonacci name) also introduces zero, I wouldn’t consider it a number, While these started from u.

### 15. Precious banknotes

Corruption is a widespread phenomenon among the ruling classes in many countries. In some cases, some associations have proceeded to issue zero value banknotes in protest. One example is the zero rupee banknote issued by The Fifth Column in India.

### 16. This assumes a high level of abstraction

At the mathematical level, zero tends to describe the absence of something. Existence and non-existence have been among the concerns, thoughts and peculiarities of all or almost all civilizations that have existed. But this conception is a bit philosophical it takes more effort and mental capacity than it seems at first glance. Thus, the concept of zero, nothing, implies a great capacity for abstraction and cognition that human beings take years to achieve.