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As a number (Divide by Zero)[edit]

The first section (As a number) states that 0 is an even number as it is divisible by 0. This and the reference Parity of Zero are in-fact incorrect. Although the parity is indeed even division by zero is undefined as stated by Divisor Muhe001 (talk) 07:10, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

The article does not say that 0 is even because it is divisible by 0, it says 0 is even because it is divisible by 2. Hut 8.5 10:29, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

The number 0 is even because when divided by 2 there is no remainder, to be more specific. (talk) 22:59, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

A pair consists of two elements.
Dividing a number by two, we count the number of pairs.
Zero elements, resulting zero pairs. Gvitalie (talk) 20:17, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

Zero in Statistics (Null Hypothesis)[edit]

Shouldn't there be a mention of the Null Hypothesis, denoted by H0, as it is used in Hypothesis Testing in statistics? Since the Null Hypothesis as part of a hypothesis test denotes the current default theory (as the Null Hypothesis entry points out) being tested, and zero is considered the default placeholder, this article should certainly mention why the Null Hypothesis is considered "null". I would edit this in myself if I could, but I am not registered as a user here and felt it was a matter best brought here for discussion. I'm also not sure where in the article one would put this bit of information. Anyone want to look into this? (talk) 00:45, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm willing to help, but I'm not quite sure that I understand your point. I assumed the H0 notation was merely a convention, similar to how some sequences start numbering at 0 rather than at 1. Do you have a source that discusses the necessity of this style of naming? Cliff (talk) 10:17, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Etymology (The Etymological Origin of the word zero is Sunya (Sanskrit) not Sifer(Arabic)[edit]

The word "zero" came via French zéro from Venetian zero, which (together with cipher) came via Italian zefiro from Arabic صفر, :ṣafira = "it was empty", ṣifr = "zero", "nothing".[4]

^^ This is incorrect. The Etymological Origin of Zero is from the Sanskrit word Sunya. Please correct this error. The claim that Sifer is the Origin of Zero is based on the incorrect and outdated notions that Arabs invented the Zero.

Digital.l0gic (talk) 19:08, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

You are correct Digital.10gic. Some people here are speculating due to their misunderstanding. Aryabhata was the first to use Zero as a placeholder but the ancient egyptians(Khemet) created the concept of zero,but they obviously did not call it zero they called it: "Nfr". We all have to realize that racism, and European versions of history are taught, not necessarily based on truth but on white washing of truth. The early Greeks were not racist at all but once Alexander the Great took over Egypt there was an infusion of racism into all spheres, and the removal and/or deletion of portions of Indian, Egyptian, and non-European accomplishments abounded. The Arab accomplishments are accepted because Arabs are from Abrahamic faiths. True intellect must be free of racism, sexism and other obstacles to truth. Thanks. User: Digital P. Jan 27 2016. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:56, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
You need a reliable source saying that. Just because the Indians had zero and the Arabs got the idea from them does not mean that the name in English comes from Sanskrit rather than Arabic. Dmcq (talk) 19:27, 18 December 2011 (UTC)

Not sure what will be considered a reliable source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:51, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

It's common knowledge, and most modern mathematicians would accept it, but here is one source.


from Number words and number symbols: a cultural history of numbers By Karl Menninger page 401

Digital.l0gic (talk) 12:02, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Common knowledge, and most modern mathematicians would accept it, is not sufficient per wp:V, but the source looks OK — see also this books search.
Possible ref cite template string for the article:
<ref>{{cite book |title=Number words and number symbols: a cultural history of numbers |first1=Karl |last1=Menninger |publisher=Courier Dover Publications |year=1992 |isbn=0-486-27096-3 |page=401 |url=}}, [ Extract of page 401] </ref>
DVdm (talk) 09:36, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
This does not sound like what I understand etymology to mean. I believe it is supposed to refer to the linguistic form. Translation is not the same as adapting a linguistic form. Dmcq (talk) 10:12, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
I think one could use that derivation but the first downward line is a translation rather than an etymological derivation and is an explanation of why the Arabic symbol was used. So how about, 'This was a translation of the Sanskrit word Sunya for empty'. Dmcq (talk) 10:20, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Oops, right. See below... DVdm (talk) 10:27, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
(ec)Indeed, I agree. Actually, the source supports the current state of the article (etymology-wise, that is), but i.m.o. it can well be used to mention that zero as a concept was known in Sanscrit as "sunya" (empty). - DVdm (talk) 10:26, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

 Done Ok, I added the information with source and all. - DVdm (talk) 14:05, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi, I'm quite new to wiki editing. I was reading the article and I found the sense of the English a bit difficult to follow, so I changed the syntax of one sentence and the sentence order. No content change. Does that look ok? Lily W (talk) 03:33, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

"NULL" Value In Databases (Computer Science Section)[edit]

In the In computer science section, a paragraph read:

In databases, it is possible for a field not to have a value. It is then said to have a null value. For numeric fields it is not the value zero. For text fields this is not blank nor the empty string. The presence of null values leads to three-valued logic. No longer is a condition either true or false, but it can be undetermined. Any computation including a null value delivers a null result. Asking for all records with value 0 or value not equal 0 will not yield all records, since the records with value null are excluded.

I don't know how pedantic we want to get here but in this case NULL is indeed a value: operations using it are well-defined (as opposed to undefined). A better way to think of a nullable column of type T is that its type has been extended to another type whose values include all values of type T and additionally the value NULL, whose operations have been changed to (roughly) accept and ignore the value NULL, and where additional operations such as "IS NULL" and "IS NOT NULL" have been added.

At any rate, I've changed the first two sentences to fix the gross inaccuracy (the field "not having a value"); dunno what people want to do about the rest. Personally, I think this whole thing may not belong on this page, though I certainly see a parallel in the approach of naïve thinkers to this and to the concept of the number 0, which has been considered by some as not being a number. Cjs (talk) 04:29, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Oops, turns out the page is protected and I'd not noticed this. I suggest someone who can edit the page change the first two sentences to read

In SQL and many other databases, it's possible for a field to have the value NULL. This is an additional value that is not the same as 0 in numeric fields or an empty string in string fields.

Cjs (talk) 04:29, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

"Any computation including a null value delivers a null result." also isn't always true, especially for aggregate functions. Can you re-write that whole section you quoted above? I'll put it in the article for you. Cheers, — Bility (talk) 10:24, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Edit request on 11 January 2012[edit] (talk) 02:42, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

What do you want to edit in this article? Graeme Bartlett (talk) 02:53, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

0 as an imaginary number[edit]

0 should be considered an imaginary number, as well as a real number. It would preserve the closure of addition and subtraction in the set of imaginary numbers. e.g., 5i-5i=0 It was also preserve the closure of addition and subtraction within sets of integer multiples of complex numbers. (talk) 20:03, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

We're not hear to discuss how people should think about the subject, but simply what people think about the subject and how it should be integrated into the article. Do you have a reliable source for 0 being imaginary? Achowat (talk) 20:06, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
   I'm not sure it was fair to assume that 96... meant "should" and "would" to be taken that literally, and i felt the need to find this (at [ Complex Numbers Topic 1):
(iv) A complex number is an imaginary number if and only if its imaginary part is non-zero. Here real part may or may not be zero. 3 + 2i is an imaginary number but not purely imaginary. (v) All purely imaginary numbers except zero are imaginary numbers but an imaginary number may or may not be purely imaginary.
And still, having reassured myself by finding it, i admire the initiative of 96.... in taking the thot that far. While it is off-topic on this talk page, i'd be glad to share a few further thots with them (or others) via some subset of our User-talk pages.
--Jerzyt 04:03, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Whaaahoh! Chinese arithmetic Is it really the hardest thing there is? --RacerX11 Talk to meStalk me 05:21, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

It is simple or initial work, but there are a lot of contradictions and interrogations in this paper(Annotation of symbol basing on imaginary number and real number about zero). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:30, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

O vs. Oh[edit]

Regarding Names for the number 0 in English: We've just had two edits on this. The first, earlier this morning, changed "Oh" to "O". The second (just now) reverted it. The OED online suggests that O is more correct, but Oh is acknowledged as a variant. Also, OED says ought is British, aught American. Zyxwv99 (talk) 20:21, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, didn't see this earlier. I reverted it to 'o', as the relationship between the similarity in form of letter and number seems more relevant to the specific pronunciation, but added an IPA pronunciation guide for clarification.Number36 (talk) 23:21, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
   Me too. As i've said in my second edit summary for the sentence in question,
Actually, Merriam-Webster gives "o" as an alternate spelling of "oh", presumably in all the senses of "oh" that it recognizes.
and surely both the preferred and secondary are worth including. So i've just now included both.
   Perhaps more controversially, i also added (earlier) the limitation
in contexts where at least one adjacent digit distinguishes it from the letter "O"
even tho i don't know where i'd look to find verification that the uses are all like "Double-oh-7", "PT-1-oh-9", "Boeing 7-oh-7", and "the six-oh-five" (and i am not the one who added that text to the lead of the interstate article). Oh, hell, i just thot of double-aught buckshot -- no, wait a minit: actually my argument says people are more likely to say "double-aught buckshot" than "double-oh buckshot" -- and that is the case with both me (tho i'm not a shooter) and with our article.
   Whadda y'all think?
--Jerzyt 06:09, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 31 May 2012[edit]

To fix a typo, please change "calculation s" to "calculations" in the following sentence:

"Since the 4th century BC, counting rods were used in China for decimal calculation s including" (talk) 13:45, 31 May 2012 (UTC) YesY Taken care of. Thanks! Achowat (talk) 13:54, 31 May 2012 (UTC)


Someone polka-dotted the section about ancient China with claims of vagueness for perfectly clear statements. I think they should all be removed (the claims, not the statements). Dauto (talk) 16:28, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

They are vague. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:18, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
No they are not. there is plenty of contest that make them clear. Besides, many of the statements are quotations (well, translations of quotations) and it makes no sense to attach "vague" marks to them. The vague marks are distracting and are doing more harm than good. Dauto (talk) 21:38, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
They aren't clear English; may be a bad translation of the original (Chinese?). In fact, they are so bad, it might be better to leave it in the original Chinese. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 00:04, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
The sentences aren't just vague, they're not cited. I've provided a source, but it needs more work.--Ninthabout (talk) 01:10, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Origin of zero as a number[edit]

I don't believe the current article is clear about when and to whom modern scholarship attributes the origin of "zero" as a number. There are a lot of indvidual statements under "History" that hint as such attribution, but even within the regional paragraphs, the dates bounce around, making it hard even to pin down this essential claim for some regions, let alone the world:

  • Mesopotamia: 2 millenium BC, 300 BC, 700 BC; conclusion: not a true digit
  • India: 9th century AD, 5th-2nd century BC, 4th century BC, 498 AD, 458 AD, 876 AD, 6th century AD; conclusion: 458 AD origin of modern zero, but buried in the third paragraph while "9th century AD" leads the section
  • China: 4th century BC, 213 BC, undated, 8th century (AD?), 1247, 15th century (AD); conclusion: no specific conclusion, but the 213 BC reference seems to assert use of zero as number for calculations, which seems to me to be the earliest documented use
  • Arab world: chronologically consistent sequence of 500 AD, 825 AD, 12th century AD; conclusion: unclear if "explanation of the use of zero" is its use as a digit, but definite statement of use in its inclusion in 12th-century Arabic numerals
  • Greeks and Romans: "ancient Greeks", "Medieval period", 130 AD (although Greek numerals#Hellenistic zero gives 140 AD), 525 (AD), 725 (AD); conclusion: Old-World use established in 130 AD (or 140 AD per "Hellenistic zero")
  • Americas: 36 BC, 4th century BC; conclusion: unclear, although implies 36-BC use (and possible pre-4th-century-BC Olmec use) was an origin for this concept

Adding to the confusion, the region sections include unqualified statements like "The oldest known text to use a decimal place-value system, including a zero, is the Jain text from India..." which, in the absence of an initial, essential statement under "History", may (inaccurately) be read as global origin.

Encyclopedia articles should have a basic answer to obvious questions, followed by details that make clear the scholarship behind such assertions. This article doesn't seem to make any basic statement about when "zero as a number" arose, and the details seem rather whiplash-inducing rather than clearly informative. Could regular editors of this article consider arranging the "History" material so that it (A) leads with the earliest documented origins, and (B) includes a chronogical progression for each region? Thank you for your consideration. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 15:58, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

It might be helpful to break down the various mathematical concepts subsumed under the term "zero." For example, the Almagest uses the Greek letter omicron as a symbol for zero in giving the positions of stars in degrees, minutes and seconds. Zero can also represent the empty set in "sheep-counting numbers," i.e., for whole numbers of things that cannot have fractional values, such as live sheep. Zero can also be the central reference point on a number line where non-integer values are allowed, such as real or rational. The 12-o'clock position on a clock is a sort of zero (in the sense of Ptolemy's omicron). And finally, at some point in history, came the realization that all these zeros are related and can share a common name, which is yet another sense of zero altogether. The wheel went through something similar: some civilizations had the potter's wheel but no wheeled vehicles, others had it the other way around. This demonstrates how an invention that involves a single application of a concept doesn't necessarily imply understanding of the underlying concept. Zyxwv99 (talk) 16:57, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
To add to the conusion, the early Chinese example doesn't seem related to the concept of "number", but to recording counting-rod positions. They also had what we would call numbers, which did not include 0. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:16, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Why are the Chinese entries in these sorts of articles always so bogus? Can't trust a word of what's written about China, even by so called scholars. (talk) 09:24, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
The Chinese example lacks sources, but your anti-intellectual comment dismissing scholars is not helpful. A History of Mathematics : From Mesopotamia to Modernity is an excellent academic book published by Oxford University Press on the subject, and should be used to improve the Chinese, and Mesopotamian, Indian, Arab, and Greek entries.--Ninthabout (talk) 00:54, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I did some research, and what Arthur Rubin has said appears to be correct. The Chinese "zero" was not a number, but literally an empty space, used for calculations. See A History of Mathematics, page 85.--Ninthabout (talk) 01:07, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Removed parts of the Chinese entry[edit]

I've removed large chunks of the Chinese entry. The sentences were either weakly cited or not cited at all. [1] Looks like original research. I have replaced the content with better academic sources. Let me know if there's anything that needs changing.--Ninthabout (talk) 10:00, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Your text is a great improvement on what was there. There does however seem good evidence of the use of counting rods from the warring states period (4-200BC) and probably earlier, with the implicit evidence that a positional system was used, but the Sunzi Suanjing (usually reckoned 3-5th C AD) is the first clear description. Chris55 (talk) 11:31, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Should be New World, not Old ?[edit]

I believe this paragraph mistakenly says Old World instead of New: "Although zero became an integral part of Maya numerals, it did not influence Old World numeral systems. Quipu, a knotted cord device, used in the Inca Empire and its predecessor societies in the Andean region to record accounting and other digital data, is encoded in a base ten positional system. Zero is represented by the absence of a knot in the appropriate position." The Maya were not in a position to influence Old World numeral systems, and the rest of the paragraph continues talking about the New World. Jintian (talk) 05:16, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

It is just stating the obvious but unfortunately that quite often needs to be stated in an encyclopaeddia. Dmcq (talk) 12:37, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

In other fields...[edit]

Old text:

In some countries and some company phone networks, dialing 0 on a telephone places a call for operator assistance.

Recommended text: (It may be better to break this out into a separate subsection)

In most countries, dialing 0 prefixes making a call to a non-local dialing area; for example, in the United Kingdom, a telephone subscriber in London wishing to call a number in Manchester would dial 0161 plus the Manchester telephone number.

In North American Numbering Plan (NANPA) areas, dialing 0 by itself connects the caller to operator assistance for their local telephone service provider. Dialing 00 connects the caller to operator assistance for their long-distance telephone service provider. Dialing 0 plus area code plus number indicates a call for which operator assistance is requested.

In NANPA areas, 0 also is the prefix for directly dialing an international number; 011 plus country code plus number indicates a call to be directly connected, while 01 plus country code plus number indicates a call for which operator assistance is requested.

Emmayche (talk) 14:58, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Zero can not be an amount[edit]

Hi. Just noticed that the page contains the following. "Zero is a number which quantifies a count or an amount of null size." which is subtly incorrect. Amounts are material sums by definition; zero is an immaterial value by definition. Despite the common saying, you can't "amount to zero", because zero is the lack of an amount. I think the correct phrasing would be "Zero is a number which quantifies a count or a sum of null size." 2001:470:1F09:1183:94F7:DB9A:66B2:F21C (talk) 16:15, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Similarly, I came here hoping for an argument (maybe philosophical) that zero was not actually a number, since it is by definition not anything, or at least the sign for it. But it seems there is only one view here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 12:26, July 8, 2013‎
I am not a philosopher, exactly. I am a mathematician. and that is absolutely wrong in mathematics and sciences such as physics. 0 is a count and an amount. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:08, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Using the word "amount" is completely correct, and using the word "sum" is repetitive of the word "count", which is already there. The claim that "zero is not an amount" is almost like saying the concept of zero doesn't exist, which is ridiculous. I think it would be best to just keep the current wording. — |J~Pæst|  08:52, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
I am a mathematician too but the unsigned comment appears very logical. I suggest a section in the article about zero as a contradiction which is a view held by some. For example 0 => not(anything) = not(0 or anything but 0) = not(0) and not(anything but 0) => not(0). So 0 => not(0) which is a contradiction. Simpler view: 0 is a symbol and so is "a thing" but also 0 is nothing i.e. not("a thing") which is a contradiction.John Middlemas (talk) 13:58, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
If you cannot see that the anon is wrong, you are not a trained mathematician. He is right in a sense, but not the sense appropriate to this article. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:37, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
see also Ergo "Nature abhors a vacuum". Since a measureable value of zero can never really be achieved. Zero is a mathematical construct, just as much as infinity. Not a physical construct, but math is used extensively to model physical behavior. Heisenberg uncertainty principle and other quantum therory only adds to physical uncertainty. (talk) 03:05, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
"If Nature abhors a vacuum, why did she create so much of it?" And 0 is clearly not a mathematical constant construct. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 11:02, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
If I ask someone "How many oranges are in your bag?" and they answer "Zero," they've told me a great deal about the amount of oranges that are in their bag. They've eliminated all nonzero amounts of oranges as possibilities. In fact, they've defined the amount of oranges in their bag clearly and unambiguously. Therefore I think zero must be an amount (among other things) in this case.
Zero is the result of a search operation. It just means the search for oranges failed. Logically equivalent to not(oranges in the bag). The "not" is sufficient and the "zero" unnecessary. It is not an amount. If you also class it as an amount then it becomes a contradiction. If two oranges were found in the bag then that would be the result of a search operation too, and also an amount. Logically equivalent to [(oranges in the bag) and (two oranges)]. John Middlemas (talk) 14:12, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
"Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." Makes as much sense as the last paragraph. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:37, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
This is where Theoretical Mathematicians begin to reveal themselves akin to religious zealots; instead of participating in the discussion we're making fun of people. We see that you're not a "philosopher" as stated above, Mr. Rubin, but can you at least be thoughtful enough to respond ... thoughtfully?
Here's a simpler explanation of (or a different take on) the point being made above:
If I approach any person in the world and say: "I have a number of coins in my pocket," then any reasonable person who speaks my language would think I physically have coins in my pocket, yet they just don't know how many. Let's say, for example, that I tell both you and someone else that I have no (zero) coins; you therefore know I have zero coins in my pocket, and I am not lying. Then I ask you both the same "yes" or "no" question, which is: "Do I have a number of coins in my pocket?" The reasonable (non-mathematician) person would say, "no," because I have no coins, yet you -- the "Theorist," would answer "yes." Of course, you (the theorist) would have an uncontrollable urge to immediately clarify by saying "...and that number is zero," but if you did not have the opportunity to clarify: you (who answered "yes,") and the person who answered "no" to the same question would seem to be at odds. Is one of you lying? No, it's just that one of you has no respect for language and has a chip on their shoulder, and the other person is just trying to convey information. What sense does it make to approach a person and say: "I have a number of coins" when you actually have no coins? It's semantic and theoretical garbage to assert such a thing as a useful or interesting interaction.
If I say to you: "I give you nothing," it's a creative way of saying that I'm actually not giving you at all. If "0" were a number -- which is, by definition, a quantity, or something that can be counted -- I could literally give you nothing, but that's not how language works; by saying "I give you nothing," I am actually just saying that the act of giving is just not happening. It's also interesting that such a thing works in language, but not mathematics; if I add a qualification of "zero" to a sentence, as I did above, I am negating the specified action ("giving"), but adding "zero" to a mathematical "sentence" does not have the same affect; adding "zero" to an equation does not specifically negate anything by virtue of itself. At the very least: we need to agree that "mathematical zero" and "metaphysical zero" are different things; one is used in a system of measurement, and another is a quasi-spiritual concept.
Mathematicians need "0" to be a number because it's a placeholder on the number-line between -1 and 1; if "0" is not a number: everything in theoretical mathematics falls apart. It's kind of like asking the pope if "God" exists; of course he'll say "yes" because, if he didn't, his entire world-view -- along with his credibility -- would crumble.
Discussions like this can be interesting because they poke holes in mathematical theory. Math is interesting, beautiful at times, and incredibly useful, but problems arise when mathematicians act as though mathematics is an infallible system handed down from "God"; it's always been (and always will be) a system of rules created by and for humans, and we should all be wary of systems which need their own rules to prove their validity. Mathematicians should know better than to be so arrogant and condescending; math is a tool for expression and exploration, but so is language; let's be careful not to use the one to abuse and discredit the other. (talk) 23:25, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
I think your personal attack includes some sort of discussion as to whether zero is a natural number. If you are WP:HERE to build an encyclopedia, then please take a moment to consider how you can actually contribute. Lklundin (talk) 08:35, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm sure there are plenty of examples in which zero isn't an amount-- zero degrees Celcius, for one. But it's got to be an amount in lots of cases, too. M-1 (talk) 01:07, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

But 0 degrees Celsius does have a value indicating the state of the matter and it is both above minus one degree Celsius and below one degree Celsisus. As a Physicist it is way above absolute zero and thus indicates the state of the matter as indicating that electrons are still orbiting around the nucleus. As a mathematician I take issue with equating the cardinality of the empty set (it's cardinality is zero elements) with saying that the empty set and zero are the same thing. An empty set has nothing in it whareas zero represents a value. If you do the union of the set containing zero with the set of postive integers 1 to 100 you have one more symbol added to a set that used to have a cardinality of 100 {1..,100}. But now it has a cardinality of 101 {0 ,1,..100}. But if you have the union of the empty set with the set of positive numbers {1...100} you still have only the set {1...100} with the same cardinality of 100. Almost always it is a very bad idea to call the empty set and zero the same thing. All you should say is that the cardinality of the empty set is zero since it has no elements at all in it. Zero on the other hand indicates an absence of something and thus in set theory it means something and has value (not philosophical - just that it is an entity). Another way of saying this is that a set that has zero in it has a cardinality of one, not zero. hhhobbit (talk) 18:32, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a discussion on the page Talk:1 (number) whose outcome affects this page. — |J~Pæst|  08:52, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

It doesn't seem to.... — Arthur Rubin (talk) 08:57, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Parity of zero seem to... Veyselperu (talk) 07:37, 26 August 2013 (UTC)


In the second sentence, "fulfil" should be changed to "fulfill". (talk) 17:12, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

 Done, thanks. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:43, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
There was nothing wrong with the spelling. Why was it changed. Fulfil is a correct spelling. --Dmol (talk) 21:06, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
It's not in my dictionary. "" says "see fulfill. In Wiktionary, it's marked as (UK), with fulfill marked as (US). If it's an WP:ENGVAR question, I was wrong, but I don't see anything else that looks like British English, and I can't easily scan to see if there is any American English. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:15, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

oh in the context of telephone numbers[edit]

"In British English, it is often called oh in the context of telephone numbers."

This is certainly true in American English too, quite often-- often enough that I'm not sure it's possible that it could be done more often in British English, unless it's said "oh" practically every single time in British English.

Is anyone aware of a dialect of English in which it's not often said "oh" in the context of telephone numbers? M-1 (talk) 20:13, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Not a dialect, but I say "zero" when giving my number because it has repeated zeroes. 0085 when "said oh-oh-eight-five" can be heard as "oh-eight-five" leading people to think they missed a number. I've learned that nobody misses a number when I say "zero-zero-eight-five". I still say 3-oh-3 though. Cliff (talk) 22:26, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

"Nought is archaic"[edit]

Just wondering where the idea that nought is an "archaic and poetic form" comes from, it's the default term used by most people instead of "zero" in everyday speech. Even a newsreader would say "nought point nought five percent" for 0.05%. (talk) 08:35, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Good point. The statement was sitting there wp:unsourced. I have reworded it. If someone has a reliable source for the original remark ("archaic and poetic"), this can of course be undone. - DVdm (talk) 09:11, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
It's not used in American English. (0.05% would be "point zero five percent", the initial zero usually not being spoken.) I am not familiar enough with British English to confirm whether "nought" is used. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 10:55, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
It is true that in British English, decimal quantities less than 1 are usually pronounced as "nought point" whatever. (talk) 03:07, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
It would often be used in phone numbers too. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 09:49, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Khmer Zero dated AD 683 is claimed as the first use of zero as a place holder[edit]

Recent research by Amir Aczel identifies the Khmer Zero dated AD 683 as the first use of zero as a place holder. It appears on a Cambodian artifact known as K-127. He wrote about it in a Huffington Post article. See: His search for this artifact, and the importance of this find, are the topics of his forthcoming book "Finding Zero". This article should be updated to include this new information. Thanks! --Lbeaumont (talk) 21:24, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

When published in reputable journals (aka reliable sources), it could be included. As it is, even though the Huffington Post is often reliable, this article appears not subject to editorial controls, and should be considered his own thoughts. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:27, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
Is the Smithsonian magazine reliable? (talk) 22:10, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
Generally, articles in Smithsonian magazine are considered reliable, columns less so, and letters not at all. Book reviews are mixed. I would need to see the specifics to tell whether it's relevant to this potential inclusion. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:12, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

The information is valid, it's just a matter of people being lazy. You cannot cite Huffington Post for this. I mean sheesh, I clicked on the link and was treated to a selection of celebrity boobs on the sidebar. I feel like whoever liked to this site for the purpose of discussing 7th century epigraphy in Cambodia owes me a personal apology. Expecially because the article is actually good enough to give the explicit reference,

Cœdès, Georges, "A propos de l'origine des chiffres arabes," Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1931, pp. 323-328.
Diller, Anthony, "New Zeros and Old Khmer," The Mon-Khmer Studies Journal, Vol. 25, 1996, pp. 125-132.

It would just have been a matter of scrolling (or even reading) to the end of the page and copy-pasting that. --dab (𒁳) 08:56, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Maybe add some more alternative words?[edit]

The opening para gives 'zilch' and 'zip' as slang alternatives, but these are predominantly American usage. Could the English words 'nix' and (dialectal) 'nowt' be added? SP1R1TM4N (talk) 18:30, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

India section[edit]

The India section was completely garbled, with confused off-topic tangents and poor referencing. It still apparently contains conflicting claims, mostly because people used poor references, and/or didn't read their references closely enough to distinguish between algebraic number and positional glyph. As it stands:

  • Pingala ordered sequences of long and short syllables by their binary values, implicitly giving the positional value "zero" to the "short syllable". This isn't "similar to Morse code" other than in a trivial/superficial way, but somebody found it appropriate to link a pdf called "Math for Poets and Drummers" to make this comparison. This approach is symptomatic of people trying to discuss 5th-century Sanskrit philology, for some reason they appear to think random pdfs "for Drummers" they find on the internet are somehow all written by top-notch Indologists.
  • The claim that "Pingala used the Sanskrit word śūnya" is based on the quote "Pingala's use of a zero symbol [śūnya] as a marker". This is a case of the editor misunderstanding his source, which here seems to be saying that the extant manuscripts of Pingala's text contain the marker which is now known as śūnya, it doesn't confirm that "Pingala" himself "uses the word śūnya" for any marker or digit. The author of the reference here uses śūnya to make clear he refers to the "Devanagari zero glyph" (Unicode ०). The question of whether Pingala personally used ० must be left to expert literature. It must be understood that Pingala did not write in Devanagari, which developed one thousand years after he lived. The manuscripts of the text are going to be in Devanagari (or related scripts) and it is understood that while they record the text of Pingala, they do not so in the same symbols that Pingala would have used. If the question is whether Pingala did or did not use a specific symbol, we are entirely dependent on explicit pronouncements from experts.
  • The next paragraph claimed there was use of the decimal place-value system in a "Jain text date to AD 458". Well. The truth is that the manuscript of the medieval Sanskrit translation uses the decimal place-value system (which by that time was in common use) to render numbers in the text whose Prakrit original (which is lost) dates itself to AD 458. This is precisely the kind of thing that happens all the time in our Indian philology related topics because people do not bother to research things and are happy to just cite the general gist of the first thing they googled.

I would like to see more material on the early use of śūnya, where exactly was it used in precisely what meaning. So far, we have the apparently conflicting claims that śūnya as an algebraic term (as opposed to a generic word meaning "void") was first used by either Pingala or in Lokavibhaga. It's likely neither, as I have explained the Pingala reference is likely based on a misreading on "our" part of the reference given, and the Sanskrit Lokavibhaga text is medieval. Which leaves open the possibility that the first such use of śūnya may go to the Aryabhatiya or thereabouts, but we need better references for that.

The upshot of all this is that the "modern" decimal value notation originates in India around the 5th to 6th century, likely with Aryabhata, and it entered epigraphic use by about the 7th century, just in time to be transmitted to the Persians around the time of the Muslim invasion. --dab (𒁳) 09:15, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Comma Splice[edit]

The article says "In mathematics −0 = +0 = 0, both −0 and +0 represent exactly the same number". That comma should be a semicolon. (talk) 22:03, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

 Done --A D Monroe III (talk) 17:04, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Dr.Arya bhatta an indian genius mathematician invented the number 0 (Zero).[edit]

Aryabhata (Sanskrit: आर्यभट; IAST: Āryabhaṭa) or Aryabhata I[1][2] (476–550 CE)[3][4] was the first of the major mathematician-astronomers from the classical age of Indian mathematics and Indian astronomy. His works include the Āryabhaṭīya (499 CE, when he was 23 years old)[5] and the Arya-siddhanta.


Aryabhata is the author of several treatises on mathematics and astronomy, some of which are lost.

His major work, Aryabhatiya, a compendium of mathematics and astronomy, was extensively referred to in the Indian mathematical literature and has survived to modern times. The mathematical part of the Aryabhatiya covers arithmetic, algebra, plane trigonometry, and spherical trigonometry. It also contains continued fractions, quadratic equations, sums-of-power series, and a table of sines.

The Arya-siddhanta, a lost work on astronomical computations, is known through the writings of Aryabhata's contemporary, Varahamihira, and later mathematicians and commentators, including Brahmagupta and Bhaskara I. This work appears to be based on the older Surya Siddhanta and uses the midnight-day reckoning, as opposed to sunrise in Aryabhatiya. It also contained a description of several astronomical instruments: the gnomon (shanku-yantra), a shadow instrument (chhAyA-yantra), possibly angle-measuring devices, semicircular and circular (dhanur-yantra / chakra-yantra), a cylindrical stick yasti-yantra, an umbrella-shaped device called the chhatra-yantra, and water clocks of at least two types, bow-shaped and cylindrical.[8]

A third text, which may have survived in the Arabic translation, is Al ntf or Al-nanf. It claims that it is a translation by Aryabhata, but the Sanskrit name of this work is not known.

Probably dating from the 9th century, it is mentioned by the Persian scholar and chronicler of India, Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī.[8] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:12, 26 March 2016 (UTC)

Requested move 24 April 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. — Favonian (talk) 09:53, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

– "0" usually refers to the number. There was no year 0. GeoffreyT2000 (talk) 21:45, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

  • Support - but then also do this for 1, 2, ... . Bare numbers currently land in 'year'-articles. The primacy of years is a remnant of the abandoned practice of linking years.−Woodstone (talk) 03:20, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose – No need for a new round of ridiculous primarytopic grabs. I'd make other numbers like 0, if anything, but the number of links to be fixed probably makes this prohibitive. Dicklyon (talk) 03:58, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose per above--John123521 (Talk-Contib.) RA 05:21, 25 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose – per above. Baking Soda (talk) 08:15, 26 April 2016 (UTC)
  • O-ppose per above, and what about Story of O, which has 'nothing' going for it. Randy Kryn 11:56, 26 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose for just this article. If someone wants to propose that other number articles get moved similarly, I might be okay with that, but IDK where the cutoff would be; I'm pretty sure 1950 and such should stay pointing to the year. --A D Monroe III (talk) 21:58, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Representing 0 in Digital Electronics[edit]

The Computer Science section contains the sentence:

In binary, 0 represents the value for "off", which means no electricity flow.

I'm not sure how pedantic we want to be, but this isn't strictly true. In a digital circuit, current doesn't necessarily need to flow to represent either a 1 or a 0, depending on how the circuit is set up. Values of 1 and 0 in digital circuits are set arbitrarily. One is usually near source voltage and 0 is usually close to reference ground, but the values can be reversed, based on current instead of voltage, or other arbitrary differences. The section Digitial Electronics from the Electronics page has a good explanation:

Digital circuits are electric circuits based on a number of discrete voltage levels. Digital circuits are the most common physical representation of Boolean algebra, and are the basis of all digital computers. To most engineers, the terms "digital circuit", "digital system" and "logic" are interchangeable in the context of digital circuits. Most digital circuits use a binary system with two voltage levels labeled "0" and "1". Often logic "0" will be a lower voltage and referred to as "Low" while logic "1" is referred to as "High". However, some systems use the reverse definition ("0" is "High") or are current based. Quite often the logic designer may reverse these definitions from one circuit to the next as he sees fit to facilitate his design. The definition of the levels as "0" or "1" is arbitrary.

However, it is not cited. I'm not certain what else to do, though. Ignaddio (talk) 15:59, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for your post. Please see this Talk:1_(number)#In_technology_-_used_in_Binary_code. I hate edit wars, and have been waiting for more support to remove or change the misleading phrase that you pointed to. The author of the book that is cited in the 1 (number) page, either doesn't really understand how electronics work, or tried to simplify the concepts of 0 and 1 in electronic for beginners. But in any case it shouldn't be used as a reference, because it's just plain wrong. Dhrm77 (talk) 16:25, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Requested move 4 December 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved (non-admin closure) Fuortu (talk) 20:16, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

– This is another attempt to gain consensus for making zero, the number. primary topic for 0, following the failed request of April. I'm framing this request as an amendment to the request for comment Talk:AD 1#What should the articles from 1 to 100 be moved to?, which has been open since October 6 and is still pending closure. I would like to get a consensus here to add 0 (number) to the scope of the RfC, contingent on the RfC moving at minimum the adjacent page 1 (number) to 1. −1, the number is primary topic. 09 are currently disambiguations, after bold moves I've made which have not been contested. It seems appropriate to me that if we move 1 (number) through 9 (number) to the base titles, then it would only be appropriate to also move 0 (number) to primary status, rather than leave 0 as an island of ambiguity surrounded by primary topic numbers. - wbm1058 (talk) 18:43, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

  • Per this Ngram the number dominates in page views. This should actually be an easier decision than 1–9 as the year 0 does not exist in the AD (Gregorian) calendar. – wbm1058 (talk) 18:43, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
  • That RfC is a book by now (sorry), but the most recent and relevant section is Talk:AD 1#0 to 9 should be about numbers instead of disambiguations.wbm1058 (talk) 19:07, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. 0 (number), which covers both the number and the digit, is clearly the primary topic. The only reason for 0 to take the reader anywhere else was treatment of 1 etc. as years, which we assume is to change soon. Certes (talk) 00:31, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. Looking at the alternatives, the page 0 (number) is clearly the primary target for readers. −Woodstone (talk) 02:44, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Strong Support The number is clearly the primary topic for this and so should be at 0. All the others are derived, less important, and less used. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 06:32, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support – Looks obvious. Objections from previous RMs were addressed by the 1…100 RFC, which already establishes that such titles should not represent years any longer. There is an open question about titles of year pages, which bears no impact on 0, because there was no year 0 in the AD/CE numbering scheme. — JFG talk 08:28, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support – Per common sense and to save the readers an unnecessary click. Neodop (talk) 14:31, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per nom. Utterly obvious. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:43, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support - Per nominator and arguments made above. Meatsgains (talk) 16:27, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment Any thoughts on what to do about pages such as 2000 (number)? (wbm1058, wbm1058, wbm1058, Certes, Woodstone, Graeme Bartlett, JFG, Neodop Necrothesp Meatsgains)
GregKaye 19:43, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
There is nothing to do about 2000 (number); the RfC is addressing articles 1100. 2000 (the year) and 2000 (number) are fine as they are. Unless you have an idea to submit at Talk:2000 (number)… — JFG talk 20:17, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
"Ping Three Times" on the keyboard if you want me... :) I think that the recent discussion at Talk:AD 1#0 to 9 should be about numbers instead of disambiguations. justifies the original RfC proposal that numbers only go as high as 99 or 100, and after that, the primary topic is still the year. So 2000 will always be about the year; thus we need to disambiguate 2000 (number). The approach I'm taking is to start at zero and work my way up, next will be 1 through 9. Then keep boldly but slowly ascending, keeping my ears tuned to listen for squeals which will halt the process until a determination of consensus restarts it. This RM is where we are currently at with this creeping implementation process; currently as you can see the status is all systems go, and the countdown continues to liftoff... unless "twice on the pipe" means the answer is no. wbm1058 (talk) 20:22, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. 0 is a number and there was no year 0. Timo3 14:12, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. I not only support pages 0 to 99 being about numbers, but for consistency, all number pages should be named without (number) added to it. All pages about a year should be named with (year) appended to it. There is no logical reason for a particular thing like a year to be singled out as being the main subject of a number. For example, for 1984, we should have 1984 for the number, and 1984 (book), 1984 (year), 1984 (movie), etc.. for everything else. I believe that being consistent is more important than looking if the number page has more or less views than the year page. Dhrm77 (talk) 15:49, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Edit request[edit]

Please can a suitably privileged editor now move 0 (number) to the newly vacated title 0, leaving a redirect, and do the same for the corresponding talk page (i.e. this page)? Apologies if you're already in the middle of doing this but have paused because of a problem. Thanks, Certes (talk) 21:22, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

See WP:RMT. Fuortu (talk) 21:44, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Fuortu, I should have looked there first and realised the matter was in hand. Certes (talk) 21:51, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

Move request for related category[edit]

I have listed Category:0 (number) at Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Speedy#Current_nominations. Certes (talk) 12:00, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

The above request was framed as an amendment to the request for comment Talk:AD 1#What should the articles from 1 to 100 be moved to? – an unusual request. The closers here have gone ahead and implemented the request, but we should pause to ensure we aren't overstepping the bounds of the RfC. This move brings some issues that should be examined more closely there. wbm1058 (talk) 15:35, 12 December 2016 (UTC)

BC/AD vs BCE/CE[edit]

Given that this article deals in large part with the non-Christian world, I think it would be best to have dates in BCE/CE format. Would anyone object if I made the change? --Deacon Vorbis (talk) 12:33, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

MOS:ERA objects. Do not change the established era style in an article unless there are reasons specific to its content. You haven't given an article-specific reason. --A D Monroe III (talk) 20:31, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Erm, the content being that a large part of the article deals with the non-Christian world, so using Christian terminology is inappropriate. --Deacon Vorbis (talk) 22:17, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
What makes you think that renaming a christian year count to "common" makes it less arrogant?−Woodstone (talk) 14:56, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
I never said anything about anything being arrogant. In any case, the terms AD and BC imply a certain level of acceptance of the Chrstian faith, and since this article deals in large part with the non-Christian world, they're inappropriate. --Deacon Vorbis (talk) 15:10, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
At least a million WP articles can directly trace their subjects' origins to some Asian, African, or pre-Christian European or American source; if you start getting picky, all can. The overwhelming consensus appears that having some non-Christian origins has nothing to do with MOS:ERA. If that's going to change, it can't be done by a couple editors in a quick discussion just on this one page. --A D Monroe III (talk) 16:34, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
I think you're overestimating the number of articles that are affected by this. I also think you're misrepresenting consensus about what should be done in this sort of case. --Deacon Vorbis (talk) 12:51, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
I think at the very least you should get evidence for what you say, which would basically boil down to finding if CE is more commonly used than AD. Otherwise per WP:ERA I don't think there is even the start of a basis for changing the era in this established article. Dmcq (talk) 13:42, 16 September 2017 (UTC)