When you were a little kid, even before you ever dealt with your first word problem in math class, you probably had to solve a problem something like this. You have four Starbursts, and you eat four Starbursts. What are you left with? That's right: sadness. And also no candy. But though even small kids can understand "nothing," the concept of "zero" is actually a bit more advanced; so advanced, in fact, that by the year 1200 C.E., it had only just barely reached the brightest mathematicians in Europe. This is the story of the invention of zero, and how a whole lot of nothing ended up changing the world.

## Making Something Out of Nothing

## Zero Goes Abroad

#### Math Whizzes of Ancient Babylon Figured out the Forerunner of Calculus

Written by
Reuben Westmaas
September 7, 2017

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