1249 words - 5 pages

We Cannot Have A Successful Society If Zero Is Not Involved

INTRODUCTION:

The number zero may be thought to have very little importance, but it is actually of great value. Zero is the number that precedes 1 and follows –1 so it may represent the value of nothing. Zero is also important in holding a place value. It is a composite integer that is neither odd or even, though that fact can be debated. Zero is involved in many areas of study including modular arithmetic, computer sciences, and physics. There are also many properties that go along with zero, such as division by zero and the identities that go along with it. Zero, unlike many other numbers, has an interesting history.

HISTORY:

The concept of zero was invented in Ancient Babylon circa 300B.C. and was about the only place where it was not rejected. Unlike modern times where we use the decimal system, the Babylonians used the sexagesimal base system, or the base-60 number system. For example, the number 10862 in the sexagesimal base system would be: ((1+1+1) x (10 x (1+1+1+1+1+1)) ^ (1+1)) + (1 x (10 x (1+1+1+1+1+1)) ^ 1) + (1 +1). In the base-ten number system this number would be: (1 x 10^4) + (0 x 10^3) + (8 x 10^2) + (6 x 10^1) + (2). The symbol for zero was two slashes with a blank space between them. Unlike the decimal value system where we have ten distinct symbols to

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represent zero through nine, the Babylonian’s only had two symbols: a vertical wedge for one and a crescent for ten. Zero in the sexagesimal base system only signified the absence of units of a certain order. The Babylonians did not use zero as “the number zero” as we do today. The concept of twenty minus twenty was still unknown to them. The Babylonians may have been first to use zero but they did not use it to the fullest potential (Seife.)

AREA OF STUDY:

The concepts of zero relate to abstract algebra and modular arithmetic. Abstract algebra is high school algebra that deals with complex numbers, functions, theories, unknowns and more. Modular arithmetic is a system of arithmetic for integers, where numbers “wrap around” after they reach a certain value. Zero makes computation a whole lot easier mainly because it acts as a placeholder that participates in the action of computing. In number theory, also related to abstract algebra, zero has its own uniqueness. Adding two non-zero numbers always gives a new value but when adding zero to a number the value of the number never changes. This idea is called the additive identity. Subtraction is defined as adding the opposite. For example 7 – 5 = 7+ -5, and –5 is the opposite of 5. When subtracting zero, the number that is subtracting zero is not changed: 7 - 0= 7 (Kreith.) Therefore zero also does not have an opposite or you can call zero its own opposite. Any number multiplied by zero is zero. It is impossible to divide by zero because the answer does not have a limit—it herds off to infinity. It maybe thought that a number divided by nothing is that number...

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