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The Story of Zero – Getting Something from Nothing

Once upon a time, zero wasn’t really a number. Its journey to the fully fledged number we know and love today was a meandering one. Today, zero is both a placeholder, and tool, within our number system signifying an absence of a value, and as a number in its own right.

But it wasn’t always seen as that, and it still doesn’t act quite like other numbers. Can you divide by zero, for example? Hannah Fry explains how zero came about, from its origins in ancient civilisations, through the resistance it faced from the Roman numeral system, to being the cornerstone of calculus.

From The Royal Institution: The Story of Zero – Getting Something from Nothing.

Related listening: What Is The Biggest Number?

Yay, Math! Next: Ri’s How the Ancient Greeks shaped modern mathematics, and from Charles and Ray Eames: Mathematica – A World of Numbers… and Beyond.

Bonus: How to create chocolate out of nothing.

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