In mathematics, the number zero has a miraculous power. Without it there would not be a whole building of mathematics and there would not be a modern computer hardware. And to imagine a modern life without a computer is already as difficult as the fact that our ancestors once felt horror at the figure zero. The history of zero is long and confusing. The trace of it was found in the calculations of the Chinese in the 2nd century. n. e. and even earlier at maya (he was designated at them a spiral). But this is not "our" zero.

In mathematics, the number zero has a miraculous power

Some researchers suggest that zero was borrowed from the Greeks, who introduced the letter "o" as the zero. The first use of the symbol (0), which it is today, is found in the Greek astronomers. There are many versions of why this designation was chosen. Some historians tend to believe that this is an omicron, that is, the first letter of the Greek word is nothing - ouden. However, not everyone agrees with this explanation, since the Greeks already used an omicron to record the number 70 (the Greek numeric system was based on the alphabet).

According to other versions, life to the symbol of zero gave the word "obol" (a coin almost without value). Or, this symbol zero appeared when we were counting, using a sand board. It is assumed that there was an imprint in the form of zero after coins were removed from the sand.

Others, on the contrary, believe that zero came to India from China. Earlier inscriptions from 683 and 686 were found. in present-day Cambodia and Indonesia, where zero is represented as a dot and a small circle. However, "only for Indians for the first time in the history of mankind does zero appear as a mathematical symbol used in counting operations". So says the German historian Eberhard Knobloch. The first reliable evidence of a record of zero refers to 876; in the wall inscription from Gwalior (India) there is a number of 270.

Before zero hit the West, he made a long, roundabout way. In 711, the Arabs invaded Spain and conquered almost all of its territory. In 712, they captured part of India and subdued Sind - the land in the lower reaches of the Indus. There they got acquainted with the adopted number system and adopted it; since then they began to talk (and say) about the "Arab figures".

The Persian mathematician al-Khorezmi (787-850) was the first of the Arabs to describe in his treatise "The Numbers of Indians" this new number system. He advised his readers to put in the calculation an empty circle on the place where "nothing" should be placed. So on the pages of the Arabic manuscripts appeared the familiar zero. At first glance, zero is nothing. If you add or subtract it from any number, it will not lead to any changes. But to attribute this modest figure to the right of units - you will get a number ten times more than the original. And on the contrary, multiply any, even a billion, number by zero and a billion "shrink" and itself become nothing.

The value of introducing a zero sign can not be overestimated. Professor Khosted stressed the crucial importance of the invention of zero: "... this ability to give nothing to nothing is not just a place, a name, an image, a symbol, but also a practical meaning typical of the people of India, the country from which it all came... None The mathematical invention did not have such significance for the general progress of reason and power. "Leonardo Fibonacci (1180-1240) the Arabic word "zero"("as-sifr") was given by the word "zephirum", which is a transliteration of the Sanskrit "sunya", ie, "empty", which served as the name of zero. The word "zephirum" gave rise to the French word "zero".

Until the middle of the 17th century. this word was used specifically to denote zero. For example, in the "Arithmetic" of Magnitsky, only zero is called a digit. Latin nullus (no) came into use to designate zero in the 16th century. Only in 1600, zero was widespread in Europe, but still faced resistance. "...Zero is often hated, long feared, and even forbidden", - wrote the American mathematician Charles Vault, author of the book "Biography of the number zero". Until recently, at the end of the 19th century, the Turkish Sultan Abdul-Hamid II (1876-1909) ordered his censors to delete from all the textbooks chemistry water formula H2O, accepting the letter "O" for zero and not wanting to allow the initials in the schools to be flawed by the neighborhood with the despicable zero.