628 Zero

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Brahmagupta mathematics





We make a distinction between 0, the number of nothing, and 0, a digit that is used in numbers written with digits in our positional number system.

History shows that the digit 0 came first (using various symbols). The history of the number 0 came from Brahmagupta. The Islamic world already had the positional number system. Brahmagupta gave them the number 0. The Persian, Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī (the inventor of algebra), oversaw translation of Brahmagupta into Arabic. Al-Khwārizmī’s work in Latin translation in the twelfth century introduced the Hindu-Arabic numeral system to the Western world. Fibonacci, having learned from Arabic mathematicians, contributed to its adoption in the thirteenth century.

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