Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne PThe number zero
Name: richard wright
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
Is "zero" (0) a number?



Replies:
Yes. But then what do you mean by 'number'? There's a lot of different kinds of numbers: natural numbers, whole numbers, rational numbers etc. Zero isn't a natural number. Natural numbers are defined as 'the number of elements in certain sets' so to speak without getting too technical. All the other kinds of numbers come from our algebraic needs: the whole numbers arise from the need to be able to subtract any two numbers, the rationals from the need to divide numbers. The reals were invented because some calculations couldn't be performed with rational numbers alone.

Hm... that was a lot of talk. I hope some of it was useful to you :-)

jan p anderson



Click here to return to the Mathematics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory