Z is for Zero

Helping to working on my daughter’s homework, I get to rediscover centimeters to meters (100), milliliters to liters (1,000), and grams to kilograms (1,000).

Zero has fascinated me for-practically-ever. I saw this article in BoingBoing, which led to this piece in the Guardian:

“Only [India] introduced a symbol, 0, and treated it as if it was a normal digit just like all the others from 1 to 9. Invention of the number zero was possibly the greatest conceptual leap in the history of mathematics.

“But why did the Indians make this leap and not China or Babylon? …

“India made another contribution to world culture as well as zero: the idea of nirvana, the transcendent state of “nothingness”, when you are liberated from suffering and desires.

“In fact, the word used in philosophical texts to mean nothing, or the void, is “shunya”, the same word later used to mean zero.
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