The 'invention' of zero made arithmetic infinitely easier - try doing division in Roman numerals - and it now forms part of the binary code which powers all our computers. Robert Kaplan traces 'the nothing that is' back to its origins as two wedges pressed into a wet lump of Sumerian clay. He explores the contributions of Greeks, Mayans, Hindus and humanists, and shows how zero opened the door to the strange complexities of irrational, infinitesimal and imaginary numbers. 'If you look at zero,' he writes, 'you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world.'
- Publication Date:
- 30 / 11 / 2000