Mod­ern Numbers

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Asian Geographic - - Culture -

c. 500 ad

The num­ber­ing sys­tem used to­day in the West­ern world was first de­vel­oped around 500 AD by In­dian math­e­ma­ti­cian and as­tronomer, Aryab­hata I. His sys­tem was im­proved upon around 600 AD by Arab math­e­ma­ti­cian, Muham­mad ibn Musa alKh­warizmi, who in­tro­duced the “po­si­tional zero” – ze­roes used to in­di­cate mul­ti­ples of 10. For most ap­pli­ca­tions, this sys­tem soon re­placed the cum­ber­some Latin sys­tem of Ro­man nu­mer­als. Once schol­ars could eas­ily dis­tin­guish among one, 100, and 10,000, maths and science ad­vanced in leaps and bounds.

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