Earliest recorded use of zero is centuries older than first thought

Carbon Dating Reveals the History of Zero Is Older Than Previously Thought

Carbon Dating Reveals the History of Zero Is Older Than Previously Thought

The new carbon dating reveals that the reason why it was previously so hard for scholars to pinpoint the Bakhshali manuscripts date is because the manuscript, which consists of 70 fragile leaves of birch bark, is in fact composed of material from at least three different periods.

A black dot on a third-century Indian manuscript has been identified by Oxford University as the first recorded use of the mathematical symbol for zero, 500 years earlier than previously thought.

However, the dot symbol in the Bakhshali script is the one that ultimately evolved into the hollow-centred version of the symbol that we use today. According to Professor Marcus Du Sautoy of the University of Oxford, the creation of zero has to be credited as the "greatest breakthrough" in mathematics. Their findings show that we were far off the mark in estimating the text's date of origin - hailing from somewhere between 224AD and 383AD instead of the commonly-assumed 9th century (801-900AD) - with deep implications for the history of mathematics. The dot, or zero, was used as a placeholder in mathematics, meaning it was used to indicate the orders of magnitude.

Trump Tours Florida in Wake of Hurricane
The order followed the deaths of eight elderly people this week at a sweltering nursing home north of Miami that lost power . At least 56 of Florida's 639 nursing homes still have no electricity on Friday morning, five days after Hurricane Irma .

According to the Smithsonian, the Bakhshali text does not use zero as number in its own right like Brahmagupta does, but rather as "placeholders denoting the absence of value - as way to distinguish 1 from 10 and 100, for instance". It's this dot that later evolved to be the symbol with a hole in the middle that we know today. It also seems like dot-zero was yet to come into its full powers, and was originally used as a placeholder. A recent batch of carbon dating is causing the history of mathematics to be rewritten, as it has discovered zeros dating back to a period 500 years before previously seen.

Scientists have discovered evidence of the symbol in the Indian Bakhshali manuscript - a mathematical text discovered in 1881. It has been held at the Bodleian Libraries since 1902.

"There's a lot of 'If someone buys this and sells this how much have they got left?"' said Du Sautoy. The most authoritative academic study on the manuscript, conducted by Japanese scholar Dr Hayashi Takao, asserted that it probably dated from between the 8th and the 12th century, based on factors such as the style of writing and the literary and mathematical content.

AEP, Dominion crews head south to help with Irma recovery
Meanwhile, many Southwest Florida residents remain frustrated that they are among the minority still without power. Never touch any downed or low-hanging wire, including telephone or cable wires that touch a power line.

In many ways, the moment when "nothing" became a number was a turning point in science and technology, marking a transition from dealing in the palpable to dealing with abstract concepts.

"Some of these ideas that we take for granted had to be dreamt up".

According to the report published in Guardian, the results of the study and the manuscript, which is housed in United Kingdom since 1902 would be on public display next month, as part of a major exhibition in London.

Remembering Aunt V: Violet Brown on favourite PM, baptism and school
Ms Mosse-Brown said she spent much of her life cutting sugarcane in the fields around her home and attended church regularly. Brown said in April that a "clean" life and good food were the secrets to her longevity, according to The Gleaner .

Recommended News

  • Dead After Crash on M5 Motorway in Gloucestershire

    Dead After Crash on M5 Motorway in Gloucestershire

    Highways England said the "early expectation" is that the M5 "will remain closed in both directions late into this evening". The lorry that has slammed has hit what M5 workers will know as a well-known historic point, a windsock beside the street.
    Vehicle owners can pay: Alphons

    Vehicle owners can pay: Alphons

    The petrol and diesel prices have gone through the roof ever since the central government announced daily revision of fuel prices. The minister said the Centre would consider bringing petroleum and liquor under GST, if state governments agree to it.
    How to Watch Tennessee vs. Florida Online

    How to Watch Tennessee vs. Florida Online

    Instead of using the nine seconds and two timeouts to move closer , Florida (1-1, 1-0 SEC) went for it all, and the move paid off. Junior quarterback Quinten Dormady has officially taken over the reins as the Vols' starter, per the team's Week 3 depth chart.
  • Watch Yo Gotti & Nicki Minaj Perform 'Rake It Up' on 'Fallon'

    Watch Yo Gotti & Nicki Minaj Perform 'Rake It Up' on 'Fallon'

    But, people can't help but joke and say they look like they would be a great couple". Nas is a best friend to her so as of now nothing is stirring up.
    KPMG South Africa chiefs resign over Gupta links

    KPMG South Africa chiefs resign over Gupta links

    The report also cleared KPMG of allegations that it was involved in facilitating tax evasion for the Guptas. KPMG however stressed that the investigation found no evidence of corruption or illegal behaviour.
    Marshal Arjan Singh dead

    Marshal Arjan Singh dead

    On August 15, 1947, he achieved the unique honour of leading a fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi. The Marshal has flown over 60 aircraft and remained a flyer until the end of his career with the IAF.
  • Infiltration bid foiled in Kupwara; 2 terrorists gunned down

    Infiltration bid foiled in Kupwara; 2 terrorists gunned down

    Sources said the army men deployed along LoC in Machil sector intercepted a group of militants trying to sneak into Valley today. This bid was foiled after more than a month's time when last infiltration was repulsed with fatal casualties on militant side.
    Davis Cup: Mahut and Herbert earn the second point for France

    Davis Cup: Mahut and Herbert earn the second point for France

    The Aussies need one more point to reach the final for the first time since 2003, when they won it. Belgium is hoping to reach the Davis Cup Final for the third time, the most recent being 2015.
    Analysts Watch Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE:CPK) And Issue New Targets

    Analysts Watch Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE:CPK) And Issue New Targets

    During the past six months, Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE:CPK)'s stock has been 16.82% and 35.15% for the last 12 months. The Firm develops, promotes and sells a range of products to the jewelry market across the People's Republic of China (PRC).
  • Mumbai demands for reforms in local trains over the new bullet train

    Mumbai demands for reforms in local trains over the new bullet train

    Kharge said: "We have seen 19 major (railway) accidents in the past one year and Rs 1.1 lakh crore is required for rail safety". Party sources acknowledged that the launch of the bullet train project could consolidate urban votes in the BJP's favour.
    No. 25 UCLA comes up short in Memphis barnburner

    No. 25 UCLA comes up short in Memphis barnburner

    Andrews finished with 142 receiving yards and the two scores, while Caleb Wilson led the team with 208 receiving yards. Rosen was 5-for-5 passing for 95 yards on the lengthy drive, ending with a 22-yard scoring pass to Austin Roberts.
    Ryanair cancels hundreds of flights, sparking outrage from customers

    Ryanair cancels hundreds of flights, sparking outrage from customers

    Ryanair also said the cancellations, which amount to 2pc of its network, won't have an impact on earnings in September and October.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.