The idea of zero as a number with a value rather than just a place holding symbol is of major significance in science and philosophy. The study of nothingness has expanded our knowledge of the universe and has enabled us to better imagine the unfathomable.

The rules governing the use of zero were first written in 628 AD in an Indian work entitled Brahmasputha Siddhanta, which translates as The Opening of the Universe. This book was about astronomy, but its author, Brahmagupta, devoted several chapters to mathematics.

The first three rules set out by Brahmagupta state:

The sum of zero and a negative number is zero.

The sum of zero and a positive number is positive.

The sum of zero and zero is zero.

Modern mathematics has a different spin on calculating the sum of zero and zero since zero is a value that has no value.

We use the expression “a zero to the left” to describe a total loser. But this characterization is probably wrong or at least unfair in view of the vast importance of nothing.