We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made....Albert Einstein We have already seen how the Indian Numerals (Decimal system) evolved from Harappans to Kharoshti to Brahmi and Bhashali numbers giving different symbols from 1-9. Invention of 0 and Place Value System Many have misconception that 0 was invented by Aryabhata. No, its not true… meaning of 0 as emptiness, nothing, void (used for meditation) was already known to Buddhist and Jains around 600 -700 years before Aryabhata and it was called as “Shunya”. Aryabhata invented "Place Value System". The symbol ‘0’ was seen in Jain book ‘Lokavibhaga’ as early as AD 458 and Aryabhata was born in 476AD. As seen earlier Aryabhata never used any symbol for numbers, he used words. He used ‘kha’ as placeholder to denote nothing(empty). Eg: 306, Aryabhata will denote 0 as kha for separation purpose or to denote nothing (Babylonians used “ or ‘ ‘ for same but were not consistent) and hence differentiating 306 and 36. This gave rise to the place value system which we follow today. Later 'kha' was replaced by 0 which meant same: nothing and later 0 was used by many Indian scholars like Brahmagupta, Bhaskara, etc in their books. Brahmagupta and Bhaskara I were the first to use 0 as a number. So by the time of Brahmagupta and Bhaskara I, we had all numerals from 0-9. Hindu Numerals goes West and more West Brahmagupta is considered as the teacher of Arabs. Brahmagupta’s book ‘Brahmasputa Siddhanta’ is believed to be translated in Arabic/Islamic language. Because of such books, Arab could understand the astronomy and which helped them to prepare their own calendar. Hindu numeral system (0-9) came in notice and fame in 825 AD , when by Persian famous Mathematician Al-Khwarizmi wrote a books On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals and On the Use of Hindu Numerals in the year 830. Since then Arabs started using Hindu numerals in … [Read more...]

## Indian Classical Period and Early Medieval Period

Indian Classical period starts around 400 AD and ends in 1200 AD. This period is often considered as the golden period for Indians in terms of science, technology, mathematics, astronomy, engineering, art, logic, philosophy, and religion. Restricting us to mathematics, people like Aryabhata , Bhramagupta, Bhaskara I and II, Mahavira were born in this period and had made immense contributions in the field of mathematics and astronomy. [wptabs style="wpui-narrow" effect="slide" mode="horizontal"] [wptabtitle] Aryabhata[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent] It was this period in which Aryabhata was the first to tell many astronomical facts like earth is round, sun is the center point of solar system and all the planets revolve around sun, earth spins around its own axis, cause of day and night, etc. He also made huge contributions in mathematics as well. Although ancient Indians had been following decimal numeral system from the Harappan civilization, still there was no place value system. Decimal place value system was seen in Aryabhata’s Aryabhatiya book and this is considered as the turning point of mathematics and biggest contribution in the field of mathematics which gave rise to ‘0’ . Aryabhata didn’t invent ‘0’ symbol. Infact he did not use any of the symbols (1-9) though Brahmi numerals were widely used around same time but he did invent a place value system where '0' can be fixed (place holder). Also he used words for the numbers and to denote the place value system. He used the word "kha" to denote nothing (0) and it was later used as "ZERO".(see more in Hindu Numerals goes West Section) Earlier Babylonians had Place value system but they were not consistent. They used “ “ and (space) to denote 0. They would right 108 as 1”8 or 1 8 but they didn’t follow it always especially when 0 use to come at the end. So for them 180 was written as 18 and hence there was no differentiation for 180 and 18. Mayan although had separate symbol for 0 (Shell) but they did not follow the … [Read more...]