GS Padmakumar Memorial Lecture on ZERO AND INDIAN CULTURE

Organizer: Breakthrough Science Society, Kerala Chapter

About the Lecture

  • When: May 20, 2023, Saturday, 2.30 PM.
  • Venue: Press Club Auditorium, Kottayam, Kerala

Session by: Prof. Mayank Vahia (Former Professor, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai)

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India is often credited with the invention of zero even though the first use of a symbol for zero was in Mesopotamia in 3000 BC. The reason for this is that Indians understood the importance of zero as an entity and not just a placeholder number. This happened in India rather than elsewhere because of the cultural environment of India. It encouraged the idea of null being a common entity in other contexts which encouraged the thinking of the entity of zero or null. We will look at the context of the evolution of the idea of zero and null in India. The Mediterranean states hated the very thought of zero and that limited them in many ways. We will see how these cultural differences meant that science took different perspective in different cultures.


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