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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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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

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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