Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ABC Wednesday - Z for Zero



The Mumbai full moon reminds us of Zero - a very important numeral. In around 500AD Aryabhata devised a number system which had no zero, yet was a positional system. He used the word "kha" for position and it would be used later as the name for zero. There is evidence that a dot had been used in earlier Indian manuscripts to denote an empty place in positional notation. It is interesting that the same documents sometimes also used a dot to denote an unknown where we might use x. Later Indian mathematicians had names for zero in positional numbers yet had no symbol for it. The first record of the Indian use of zero which is dated and agreed by all to be genuine was written in 876.
We have an inscription on a stone tablet which contains a date which translates to 876. The inscription concerns the town of Gwalior, 400 km south of Delhi, where they planted a garden 187 by 270 hastas which would produce enough flowers to allow 50 garlands per day to be given to the local temple. Both of the numbers 270 and 50 are denoted almost as they appear today although the 0 is smaller and slightly raised.
 
To learn more about zero please click here

To view fascinating interpretations of 'Z' from around the world please click here

36 comments:

  1. Fantastic photo! And the information is fascinating! I love being able to learn things about other countries/civilizations and this is a particularly fun way to do it. Thank you.

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  2. How you managed to get one of your fabulous sky shots with the letter was ingenious and interesting.

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  3. Your post is a big zero :) I enjoyed the history lesson

    An Arkie's Musings

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  4. zero? what a great z idea : ). Hope you have a wonderful week! God bless!

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  5. zero? what a great z idea : ). Hope you have a wonderful week! God bless!

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  6. A very clever post!
    the moon was the first circle in history. Aloha-

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  7. Now I am starting to realize that Z is not just about "zzzz...", which what I did last round. Next round, I might do a zero. =)

    My ABC Wed entry is posted here, by the way. Happy mid-week!

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  8. interesting pic and write-up... just imagine what the world would be like if not for zero...

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  9. Here's one for you:

    http://www.zhotelindia.com/images/bwpic9.jpg

    The gateway to the Z Hotel in Jagannath Puri ... my favorite place there... :)

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  10. Impressive picture and a great written accompanyment!

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  11. une superbe photo, pour une très bonne idée.

    a beautiful picture for a very good idea.

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  12. Well, almost everyone uses the name 'arabic numbers' for system with zero. But more, and more people remembers that it comes from India.

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  13. Perfect choice and very interesting. Thanks for it and a terrific photo too.

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  14. what a lovely photo of the mumbai full moon! thanks for sharing about india's number system - it is very informative and interesting. a perfect ender for a Z indeed!

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  15. A clever resolution for omega point.

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  16. Very clever use for Z and beautiful!

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  17. thats a very interesting connection..I saw the full moon from the train and I wondered how people can actually lose their mind looking at it

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  18. I didn't know any of that..I always learn something from CDP...
    Thank you for the information.

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  19. I really like your photographs here. simply gorgeous

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  20. I like the story of the zero ... and the pic too of course !

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  21. Thanks magiceye for the awesome photos of the Mumbai moon (which of course is the same moon I look at) and the info about zero which I didn't know (I'm not too great with math...) :)

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  22. Beautiful picture of the moon and very interesting reading!

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  23. Very interesting! I like the fact you've chosen the full moon for the 'zero' post.

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  24. I knew that the concept of zero came from India, but didn't know the details. Seems I almost always learn something when I visit here.

    And as always, a great photo!

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  25. Fascinating to modern man to contemplate a time when there was no zero! How did they indicate nothing, I wonder?

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  26. Always great posts here, and this is no exception. Lovely photo and very interesting informative notes!

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  27. Great photo and great informative post :)

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  28. Excellent post for Z today, Magiceye!

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