Monday, July 11, 2005

The zero-circle connection

Ever wondered why 0's figurative representation was a circle? Add to this that they are the most cannily natural in the world/universe [The likes of e and pi being the uncanny ones]. Assuming that Arya Bhatta decided its shape, I wonder if he wondered about why he chose that shape, as much as I do/did. For me, its a stroke of genius!
But, many a times, I arrive at this particular simple reasoning which anyone would give when posed with this question.
A primary-school physics theory goes like this - Suppose a man starts from a particular point and comes back to the same point. By theory of physics, he has travelled a distance of 0 units.
This very well could have been the reason for that shape [If you see, counting and representation of numerals were invented from mundane real-life experiences rather than trysts with surreal genius]. Such a simple explanation and I find myriad philosophical interpretations of it.

In trying to explain the most complex things, we end up explaining the most obvious ones.

P.S.- The discerning reader would note that the above quote is an example for itself.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I think you can get right answer for this question from a book called "Philosophy of Mathematics" which i happened to come across when i went to landmark last month but i forgot the name of the author. The book explains a logic behind everything in mathematics. Also it was written some time back at around 1920 (i am not sure). I am thinking of buying this book.