Place of zero in mathematics
AN INTERESTING article on the place of zero in mathematics was published in local English-language daily on January 7, this year. It was about the historical introduction of zero and in the family of numeric symbols. However mathematically, zero is an integer, among the ten integers that we all are familiar with, beginning from 0 to 9. These are all numeric symbols signifying quantities.
Mathematically expressing, ‘zero’ can be stated as smaller than any positive integer, and inversely, larger than any negative integer. Negative and positive integers in mathematics are denoted by the signs: -and+ respectively. Since zero is the smallest imaginable positive integer, multiplying anything by zero results in zero. To site a small example, and limiting ourselves to only six numeric digits, we can say that 0 is larger than -0.00001 and smaller than +0.00001. Similarly, dividing any number by 0, be it positive or negative, the answer is ‘infinity’, and is represented by the Greek alphabet ‘Lamda’, the symbol for infinity in mathematics. Quite an interesting and fascinating character, the number ‘0’ as it turns out to be.
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