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The story of zero: getting something from nothing

4 minutes

A history of nothing: how zero went from nil to something

From ancient trade to modern theoretical physics and computer programming, the history of mathematics closely mirrors the history of zero – first as a concept, and then ultimately as a number. Narrated by the UK mathematician Hannah Fry, this short animation explores how the evolution of the understanding of zero has helped shape our minds and our world.

Producer: Ed Prosser

Video by The Royal Institution

Animation: Andrew Khosravani

Narrator: Hannah Fry

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Essay/
Physics
Out of nowhere

Does everything in the world boil down to basic units – or can emergence explain how distinctive new things arise?

Paul Humphreys

Essay/
Cosmology
How cosmic is the cosmos?

Ever since Heisenberg and Tagore, physicists have flirted with Eastern philosophy. Is there anything in the romance?

Zeeya Merali