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Analysis Of The Nothing That Is A Natural History Of Zero By Robert Kaplan

Decent Essays
The Nothing that is about Everything The Nothing That Is A Natural History of Zero by Robert Kaplan is a book literally a book about the number zero and how it was formed. He takes the reader on a journey through time and shows the transformation of not just zero but numbers in general from multiple countries and empires. Kaplan starts off his book by describing zero and what its possibilities are in the world. Then he jumps into the Sumerians who were one of the first to create a number system comprised of stick that had a triangle on the top. Slowly their number system evolved but never had a zero. They started making place holders for the larger numbers and assigning different sizes to the shapes in order to show a larger amount. He then moves on to the Greeks who he credits the discovery of zero. It is believed that the O came from the Greek word omicron which is the first letter of ouden or nothing. Zero was not originally used to show the absences of something but as a place holder or a space between other numbers. It was then used by Greek astronomers as anything from minutes and seconds to degrees but still not as zero today. It wasn’t until 730 AD that the Greeks used an informal way to show zero. They would count using their fingers and zero was a relaxed hand. The Greeks even created a…show more content…
The Indians created their own type of arithmetic called Bakhsali and they had to learn to solve fractions and multiply them. Hindus was one of the people to uses this math to solve many different problems like foiling and solving for x. Another important figure is Donald Knuth who came up with exponents they were originally pictured as 3 3. The more arrows placed in between the threes the more exponents were stacked on each other. Later on Kaplan shows a property of zero, he is setting quadratics equal to zero so they can be
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