The Zero Story

It’s a Math Math Math World with Divakaran and Shraddha by Radio Azim Premji University

Episode notes

Remember that dreaded figure your teacher scrawled on the margin of your math test paper? It’s the hero of this episode.

Our much-villainised zero has a fascinating history. The Babylonians, as we discovered in Episode 1 (Babylon), may have arrived at a placeholder for zero, but the actual symbol did not enter convention until the 7th century in the Indian subcontinent. It later became a foundational element of mathematical concepts during the Islamic Golden Age (the word algebra has Arabic roots). Later, it was adopted in Europe by Renaissance mathematicians.

Long story short: Zero has come full circle.

In this episode, Divakaran and Shraddha host you through the evolution of zero through the ages.

Further reading:

Book | Physics for Entertainment by Yakov Perelman: Read online at

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