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Scientists Trace The Origin of ‘Zero’ to Ancient Indian Manuscript

Scientists have relied on carbon dating technology to determine the world’s oldest recorded derivation of the zero that is now used by people world over

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Scientists have now traced the origin of zero to the Bakhshali manuscripts that date from the 3rd or the 4th century. Pixabay
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Oxford, September 16, 2017 : The eminent Indian mathematician Brahmagupta has been credited globally for writing the first-ever text that described zero as a number in 628 AD. According to Professor Marcus Du Sautoy of the University of Oxford, the creation of zero has to be credited as the “greatest breakthrough” in mathematics. But carbon dating of an ancient text has pushed the story of zero’s origin back by 500 years!

Scientists have now traced the origin of zero to the Bakhshali manuscripts that date from the 3rd or the 4th century- over 500 years older than previously thought, which makes it the world’s oldest recorded derivation of the zero that is now used by people world over.

The new search results stemming from the manuscript assert an earlier reference to the symbol of zero that is considerably older than the previously known inscription on a temple in Gwalior, India dating the ninth-century.

We present six astounding facts about the symbol ‘0’,

  1. The Bakhshali script is a fragmentary text, inscribed on 70 leaves of the bark of the birch tree and contains material from three different periods- 224-383 AD, 680-779 AD and 885-993 AD. This also raises critical questions about how the text was clubbed together as a single document.
  2. The ancient text was named after the village it was found buried in. The Bakhshali manuscript was first found in 1881 in a village near Peshawar (present-day Pakistan) called Bakshali. The text was discovered by a local farmer, and was later acquired by the indologist Rudolf Hoernle who later submitted it to the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
  3. Translations of the Bakhshali manuscript, which was originally written in a form of Sanskrit, reveal that the text was guidance manual for merchants practicing their trade along the Silk Road. The transcript includes multiple practical arithmetic exercises and a proto-type of algebra.
  4. The zero is nowhere used as a ‘number’ having its own value in the Bakhshali manuscript but merely as a placeholder in the system of numeration. This can be better understood by examining the position of ‘0’ in ‘205’ which does not indicate tens. Here, absence of a value, in other words the answer to a problem which is zero is left blank as a way to distinguish 1 from 10 and 100.
  5. Multiple ancient civilizations had evolved an independent placeholder that held no independent value –
  • about 5,000 years ago, the Babylonians made use of a double wedge to denote absence
  • Mayans incorporated a shell to indicate ‘nothing’ in their ancient calendar system

However, the Bakhshali manuscript featured the first ‘dot’ symbol that eventually transformed into the ‘0’ symbol with the hollow centre that is used today.

  1. The Bakhshali script was the first to explore the possibility to use zero as a number- this was later described in a text called Brahmasphutasiddhanta, which had been written and compiled in 626 AD by the great Indian astronomer and mathematician Brahmagupta.

The development of zero dramatically changed the field of mathematics, supplementing an implausible range of further work, including the notion of infinity, calculus, digital technology and also some of the larger questions of cosmology about the beginning of the Universe and how its existence might disappear in future.

ALSO READ India Invented Principles of Calculus 250 Years Before Newton. Indian Scholars from a Kerala School Did it

According to a report by The Guardian, the head of the Bodleian Library, Richard Ovenden was quoted as saying that these astounding research results highlight the rich and ancient scientific tradition of South Asia and also draw attention to the Western bias that often left the contributions of these scholars overlooked and ignored.


 

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15 Facts To Know About Arnab Goswami and Republic TV

. Since last year, Arnab has been running his own TV channel by the name of Republic TV which was much awaited by the viewers.

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Arnab Goswami started his career in 1994 with ‘The Telegraph’ as a journalist. Wikimedia Commons
Arnab Goswami started his career in 1994 with ‘The Telegraph’ as a journalist. Wikimedia Commons

NEW DELHI: Arnab Goswami is a well-known name, who has revolutionized the way Indian media practices journalism. Many people call him as a grammar Nazis and for some, he stands out to be an intellectual person. Arnab Goswami is a person, who is isolated and loved at the same time.

For past many years, Arnab was the front face of Times Now and was handling the role of an anchor in a live debate show. It was the time when people started following him due to his blunt questions and courageous approach. Now, since last year, Arnab has been running his own TV channel by the name of Republic TV and was much awaited by the viewers.

Let’s take a look at some of the interesting facts related to Arnab Goswami and Republic TV:

1. Arnab Goswami started his career in 1994 with ‘The Telegraph’ as a journalist. He worked there for less than a year then shifted to Delhi and joined NDTV 24X7 in TV News Broadcast. Later down the lane, Arnab joined NDTV’s core team as a news editor.

Arnab Goswami is a person, who is isolated and loved at the same time. Wikimedia Commons
Arnab Goswami is a person, who is isolated and loved at the same time. Wikimedia Commons

2. Arnab Goswami has the distinction of having a degree from Oxford University. After completing his schooling, Arnab took up BA (Hons.) in Sociology from the Hindu College of Delhi University. Then in 1994, he concluded his Masters in Social Anthropology from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. Due to his outstanding intellect, he was granted as a Felix Scholar in Oxford. Arnab was also honored with the position of Visiting D C Pavate Fellow at the International Studies Department at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University.

3. Soon after the September 11 attacks in 2001, Arnab came up with his first book, “Combating Terrorism: The Legal Challenge.” Here he summed up all the legal issues in framing laws against terrorists and terrorism. Other aspects included the legal solution for terrorism. Arnab also compared India’s anti-terrorism laws with those in the West, specifically the United Kingdom.

4. Arnab Goswami belongs to a political family. His father, Manoranjan Goswami is a retired army officer and a BJP member. Manoranjan has contested as a BJP candidate in the Indian general election, from Guwahati. His Paternal Grandfather, Rajani Kanta Goswami was a lawyer and Congress leader.  And his Maternal Grandfather, Gauri Sankar Bhattacharya was a communist and leader of the opposition for many years in Assam. So, we can count his attributes of political knowledge well.

Republic TV becomes the first Indian news channel to Livestream Star India’s Hotstar. Wikimedia Commons
Republic TV becomes the first Indian news channel to Livestream Star India’s Hotstar. Wikimedia Commons

5. Being a journalist, Arnab’s First Ever TV Interview was with Congress leader, Sonia Gandhi. His this interview got him accolades for bringing the otherwise reticent Sonia Gandhi for an interview on TV.

6. Arnab’s role model is a famed musician, Shri Bhupen Hazarika. He is a legend in Assam and is known for his multicultural identity. Arnab was very much fond of Hazarika songs. Once, Arnab himself went to Calcutta, just to just to experience a thrill of the singer’s deep-throated voice.

7. Arnab Goswami has posed for the cover of Good Times magazine in September 2012 edition.  Good Times is a lifestyle magazine from the Northeast and covers the lifestyle taste of different regions.

8. Arnab was always a big fan of BBC and CNN. He wanted to run in the footsteps of these renowned channels. Once, he even quoted in an interview with Good Times, “I do dream that at some time in the future, our country will have a channel like BBC or CNN which is going to be broadcast to the world and if such an opportunity arises, I would certainly like to play a role in it.”

9. According to IndiaToday’s report, Arnab Goswami has Ranked 46th in the Mighty Power List. He was chosen on the basis of his debate topics on social causes like corruption, misgovernance, and terror. On the list, he ranked ahead of Arvind Kejriwal and many others.

10. After working at Times Now for 10 years, he resigned in 2016 and started his own TV channel, Republic TV.

11. Arnab himself is the managing director and co-founder of the Republic TV which was launched in 2017. The channel’s website (republicworld.com) also went live on the same day.

Arnab is the managing director and co-founder of the Republic TV. Republic TV
Arnab is the managing director and co-founder of the Republic TV. Republic TV

12. Republic TV became the first Indian news channel to Livestream Star India’s Hotstar.

13. S. Sundaram is the CFO of Republic TV. He was the former CFO of Times Now and joined Arnab after he released the channel.

14. Interestingly, Republic TV is a FREE TO AIR channel. It means that the channel is covered in the basic channel package and cable operators have to air it for free.

15. Arnab Goswami received the Ramnath Goenka Award for Journalist of the Year in 2010.

 

In the span of almost two decades, Arnab Goswami has already added a lot of feathers to his hat. But many a time, he has also been at the receiving end of People, who criticize him for his adamant way of speaking and not letting others speak on his debate shows. Also, he is been known for passing out his personal judgments in many cases, which is certainly not a healthy journalist practice.