Zero' is both a number and the numerical digit used to represent that number in numerals. It fulfills a central role in mathematics as the additive identity of the intergers, real numbers, and many other algebraic structures. As a digit, 0 is used as a placeholder in place value systems.

  • The importance of the creation of the zero mark can never be exaggerated. This giving to airy nothing, not merely a local habitation and a name, a picture, a symbol, but helpful power, is the characteristic of the Hindu race from whence it sprang. It is like coining the Nirvana into dynamos. No single mathematical creation has been more potent for the general on-go of intelligence and power.
    • G. B. Halsted
  • Dividing by zero...allows you to prove, mathematically, anything in the universe. You can prove that 1+1=42, and from there you can prove that J. Edgar Hoover is a space alien, that William Shakespeare came from Uzbekistan, or even that the sky is polka-dotted. (See appendix A for a proof that Winston Churchill was a carrot.)
    • Charles Seife, Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
  • ...a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit. But its very simplicity and the great ease which it lent to all computations put our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions.
  • The point about zero is that we do not need to use it in the operations of daily life. No one goes out to buy zero fish. It is in a way the most civilized of all the cardinals, and its use is only forced on us by the needs of cultivated modes of thought.
  • ...a fine and wonderful refuge of the divine spirit – almost an amphibian between being and non-being.

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Last modified on 11 March 2014, at 22:33