DISCOVER

## Video transcription

The number zero; not like the other digits. Who invented it? Hi, I'm Jimmy Chang. I've been teaching college mathematics for nine years, and the number zero has had a rather interesting history over the years, so it never really was originally a part of the current number system until much later then all the other digits. So, but here's where it's been. It was always there. It just never had a concrete place until much later. The Greeks back in the day they were aware of the concept of nothing, but they never really were able to put a concrete definition of it, because they kept pondering the question how can nothing be something? How do you express nothing as an actual quantity? So, they batted this question around, and it was really never answered to anyone's satisfaction. The Mayans were forerunners of a lot of things, including mathematics. Now, they were always using the number zero, but they had a base twenty system. We have always used a base ten number system over the years, and our system is based off of the Hindu Arabic number system, which we'll talk about very shortly. But, because the Mayans used the number zero in a much different system there weren't really a lot of rules in place as to use it in other number systems. Now, our base ten number system is from the Hindu Arabic number system, but the original structure of the Hindu Arabic system was actually of nine characters, one through nine. It wasn't until in India when the mathematician Aryabhata introduced the number zero, and actually gave the number zero its rightful place in the Hindu Arabic system that we know today. But, there weren't really a lot of rules about zero until Brahmagupta wrote in his works that governs how zero is to be used, so only then did zero have some rules around it. So, that gives you a glimpse as to who invented zero, and my name is Jimmy.