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Link Love: A More Complicated History of Zero

"Who invented 'Zero'?" (from The New York Times)

"The Babylonians used it as a placeholder, an idea later developed independently by the Mayans. The Chinese, at some point in time, indicated it by an empty space in their counting-rod system. Some claim the Greeks flirted with the idea but, finding the concept of the void too frightening in their Aristotelian framework, passed it on to the Indians. The Hindus are generally acknowledged as being the first to formulate it as an independent number — the key to using it in mathematical calculations or binary code. What’s clear is that this history is dominated by non-European civilizations. Truly an alt-right nightmare."

Heather Bennett

Professor, feminist, sci-fi geek. Historian interested in pedagogy, technology, gender/sexuality, archives, pop culture, medicine, intellectual history, world history.