Importance of zero in mathematics
Zero was invented by Brahmgupta, an Indian mathematician who lived in the fifth century AD. He is the inventor of the Hindu-Arabic numeral that became the backbone of the development of mathematics in future. Over a period of time, the concept became known to the western world. In the medieval period, zero was extensively used in calculations. It is considered as a whole number; therefore zero is also a rational and real number. One of the unique about the numeral is that it is not a prime and composite number. People think why zero is important? Well, the truth is that it is neither a positive nor a negative number. Let us find out how it has become a vital part of our lives.
Usage in thermometer applications: Zero is essential in measuring the temperature of the human body. On its left side series of negative numbers exists while on the right side the positive counterparts help in the evaluation process extremely low temperatures are depicted with the help of negative numbers.
Representation of null set: Representing an empty set with no elements is only possible with the help of the zero number. It has made calculations a lot easier for the mathematician which was not possible in the past. Mathematical evaluations are governed by certain sets of rules only due to the presence of zero in the number system. It has helped users to arrive at accurate results without any problem.
For instance, the rule says that zero subtracted or added to the number will not bring about any change in the value. In addition, when the whole number is subtracted from itself the number would be zero.
Interesting division property: The division property of zero is quite interesting as any number dividing zero will give the result as zero while anything divided by zero is an indeterminate quantity. It is quite useful in the calculation in algebra and arithmetic.
Exponents: The exponents in the order of 10 are interrelated to the frequency of zeros in the number. For example, 2000 can be represented as 2*10^3 in the exponential form. By counting zeros, it is possible to determine the exponents.
Rounding off the digits: Zero is also importance in rounding off the numbers. If the digits beyond decimal are greater or equal to 5, it is replaced by zero while the digit on the left is increased by a value of 1.
Providing appropriate weights to the digits: Place value of the digits in the number can only be determined with the help of zero. Two zeros preceding the digit indicate hundreds position while a single zero before the number indicates 10s position however leading zeros do not assign place value to the digits.
Without zero, it is not possible to describe the concept of null set. Zero is also instrumental in creating numerous physical quantities that have become part and parcel of the science stream. Since its invention, the numeral has become the center of attraction of the mathematicians and would continue to do so in the future.
Know about other usages of zero? Post it in the comments below.
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