0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are the ten numbers that make up every other number! Although zero is usually associated with “nothing” it is actually an extremely important number because, without zero, there could be no 10s, or 100s, 1000s or even 1,000,000! Sometimes zero is used as an empty place indicator in our place-value number system. For example, in a number like 1804, the zero is used so that the positions of the 1 and 8 are correct (because 184 obviously means something much different).
The name “zero” is derived from the Arabic word and number “sifr” which also gives us the word "cipher" which means “code.” This is especially interesting since most codes—including computer codes—are made up of numbers. In fact, some computer codes are created using only 1s and 0s! Currently zero is symbolized by the circular figure 0. This icon is actually “omicron,” which is the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet. This is fitting for zero since omicron is the first letter of the Greek word “ouden” which means “nothing.”
Zero is often defined as being “that number which, when added to any number, leaves the latter unchanged.” The introduction of zero into the decimal system is considered to be one of the most significant achievements in the development of a number system.
Below are five facts about the number 0: