You’ll need to hop into a virtual time machine to find the inventor of the Hindu Arabic numerals. These numbers are the most common representation of numbers used around the world today, but the system was initially adopted somewhere between 0-300AD by mathematicians in India. The Persians took hold of these numerals and even published them in the year 825 in a well-known book. Arab mathematicians in the 9th century also used the numbers and so did most of the western world by the High Middle Ages.
The numbers are based on a system of 10, although the original concepts were a system of 9. Each symbol represents a different amount and the placement of the symbol creates differences in the amount.
Why Are These Symbols So Important?
There are a number of stories that circulate through humanity regarding the origins of all the languages that are spoken. One of the most popular is the story of the Tower of Babel that is in the Bible. In short, humanity wanted to build a tower to reach God. God didn’t like the purpose behind their efforts and so He decided to scramble their languages like a supernatural reverse Google translate and suddenly no one could understand anyone else. People scattered, spoke the same language, and there was no more tower to reach God.
What mathematics does is unite every spoken language on the planet. These numerals in mathematics are a scientific constant that can be understood in every society. Even in places where the Hindu Arabic numerals aren’t being exclusively used, the concept of 10 is something that is held in common around the world. Even if you can’t tell someone that you need to use the bathroom, you can hold up 10 fingers, count them, and everyone will understand what is going on.
What Caused These Symbols To Be Invented?
When we look back at the history of numbers, we can see the societies all had some ability to perform mathematics. This language needed some improvement due to the long and drown own numbers. We still teach Roman numerology today, but what is easier? Knowing that the number is MCCXXIV? Or knowing that the number is 1224?
As numbers get bigger, they become easier to express in Hindu Arabic numerals. These numerals also remove the limitations that are placed on other numeral systems. In Roman numerals, for example, the largest number that can be legitimately created is 3999. In other ancient languages, numbers were expressed by counters with highs and lows based on the amount. In Hindu Arabic numerals, on the other hand, a very large number can be expressed horizontally and with every third digit being broken up by a comma, it is also quite easy to read.
The language of mathematics that has been created by the Hindu Arabic numerals should be celebrated because it is what can unite us as one people. There is no race, no gender, and no political or socioeconomic differences in the language of math. There is simply fact and we have the ancient inventors of this system to thank for that.
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