Arabs didn't invent zero

There are some very real contributions to mathematics made by Arab Muslims, but they are vastly inflated by the Western press and indeed by Muslim themselves. The Brussels Journal has this to say on the topic:

I heard the claim from one European reader that “The Arab world invented the zero, and it’s been downhill ever since.” This is false, but unfortunately not an uncommon mistake. Our numeral system dates back to India during the post-Roman era, but it came to Europe via the medieval Middle East which is why these numbers are called “Arabic” numbers in many European languages. Yet even Muslims admit that they imported these numerals from India. Calling them “Arabic” numerals is this therefore deeply misleading. “Hindu-Arabic” number system could be accepted, but the preferred term should be “Indian numerals.”

Read it all here.

Comments

Don said…
I have a geotechnical engineering colleague from Sri Lanka who has made something of a campaign out of this issue. He was the first to call my attention to this fact.
Abu Daoud said…
Cool, will check it out.
JohnG. said…
In any case, what the over emphasis of the muslim on arab science in the middle age shows this : not that the muslim civilisation is the mother of light, science, etc... but that since the middle age and the ( very often exagerated) muslims inventions (arab inventions, would be more precise, or inventions and transmission in arabo-muslim world perhaps), there is a big hole in muslim science till nowdays ...

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