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zeroIn ancient times, the best way of doing sums was with an abacus – a calculating device made of rows of beads or stones. But about 1500 years ago, people in India had a better idea. They invented a “place system” – a way of writing numbers so that the symbols matched the rows on an abacus. This meant you could do tricky sums without an abacus, just by writing numbers down. A symbol was needed for an empty row, so the Indians invented zero. It was a stroke of genius. The new numbers spread from Asia to Europe and became the numbers we use today.

1150 AD Zero came to Europe in the 12th century, when Indian numerals spread from Arab countries. People soon realized that doing sums was much easier when you have "nothing" to help you count!

Is zero a number? If you’re one of those, who not take no for an answer that, white is not a colour, you almost certainly believe not. After all, it’s neither positive nor negative. It is just nothing, so how can it be present as a number? Well, as the saying goes, if you can put money on it in Vegas, it exists. But, in comparison with 1 to 9, it is a very recent discovery.

Zero doesn’t always mean nothing. If you put a zero on the end of a number, that multiplies it by ten. That’s because we use a “place system” in which the position of a digit tells you its value. The number 123, for instance, means one lot of a hundred, two lots of ten, and 3 ones. We need zero whenever there are gaps to fill. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to tell 11 from 101.

"God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through"

Sport would be at a loss without 0. It’s the point at which all games begin, and there are numerous ways of saying it:
Nil, Nought, Zero, Nothing, Zilch, Zip, Love, Duck, Scratch.

Happy New Year!
Zero was invented about 1500 years ago, but it’s still causing headaches even though we’ve been using it for centuries. When everyone celebrated New Year’s Eve in 1999, they thought they were celebrating the beginning of a new millennium. But since there hadn’t been a year zero, the celebration was a year early. The new millennium and the 21st century actually began on 1 January 2001, not 1 January 2000.