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How ZERO was invented and Who did it ?

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Some people believe that Babylonians invented zero, while some historians believe that it was invented in India with its proper usage. Here we will try to find the facts related to origin of zero. In the beginning it must have been a tough task as it is like defining the nothingness in terms of mathematics. Every human civilization had its own number system, but a very few tried to define nothingness as it is not a natural number.

Once you read about usage of zero in different civilizations, you will find that mathematicians of that age struggled with different types of number systems, unless someone invented zero. Invention of zero was incomplete unless you know how to use it. Today we are using a number system with the base 10, but there are several other number systems with a different base.

The symbol used for ZERO was not the circle, that we use now. The facts about invention of ZERO are given below. Some of them will surprise you and will also let you know about who invented it.

How and Who invented Zero ?

  • Around 4000 year old Sumerian scribes suggest that they used spaces to denote absences in number columns.
  • Around 300 BC Babylonians used a zero-like symbol.
  • Around year 350 Mayans used zero as a placeholder in the calendar system.
  • Both Sumerians and Babylonians were considered as the first humans to develop a counting system, but the proper usage of zero was not defined by them.
Humans have got 10 fingers, so the reason behind developing a number system with base 10 can be easily understood, but how to use a symbol defining nothingness to create 10 and then further use it in calculations was something unique and needed a genius to develop it.
  • Around 5th Century AD, Zero was invented in India with it proper usage. Aryabhatta was a renowned mathematician of 5th Century. Some historians and mathematicians believe that usage of zero can be understood in Aryabhatta's place-value system.
  • In year 628, Brahmagupta, a Hindu astronomer and mathematician explained the proper usage of zero but never took credit of inventing it. ZERO was described as a number and used in equations which was not done by any other mathematician till then. Historians believe that he must have learnt it from his gurus or teachers and further developed the concept. Aryabhatta's work might have helped Brahmagupta, as the invention of ZERO was not some sudden or accidental invention. It must have taken a lot of research and mathematical expertise.
  • Brahmagupta further invented negative numbers and theorems of cyclic quadrilaterals. 
India always remained a destination for seekers, its philosophy and understanding of ultimate truth attracted learners from all over the world. It might had been a reason that ZERO was invented there.
ZERO or "Shunya" is Sanskrit language is not just a number but a God in itself. Indian philosophy consider God as "Shunyata" as well, which is a unique and mysterious explanation of supreme power.  

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