Themes in Mathematics

Why is the number zero most important in mathematics?

The number 0, looks very ordinary but has a huge role in every field of mathematics. Here is the reason why it has a huge role in mathematics.

Zero is the smallest number non-negative integer the immediately precedes 1. It is an even number as it as it is divisible by 2 with the remainder itself 0 { 0 ≡ 0 (mod 2)} i.e. no remainder . It cannot be termed as a positive or a negative number. The correct way of describing zero would be a number which equals to cardinality or an amount of null size.

1 is the natural number that follows 0 and there is no natural number that precedes 0. 0 is usually not considered as a natural number but it is definitely an integer and therefore a rational and real number. It also falls under the category of complex and algebraic numbers.

0 is usually presented as the central number in a number line. 0 can definitely not be termed as a prime number as it has a number of factors and cannot be composite as well. The reason behind 0 not been termed as a composite number is the inability to express the digit as a product of prime numbers as 0 is itself a factor.

In the field of Mathematics, there are some basic rules for working with the number 0.

Let x be any real or complex number

Subtraction can be done in 2 ways

x-0=x (positive number)

0-x= -x (negative number)

In addition 0 is the identity element i.e.


on adding any number with o the result is the number itself.

Division again yields different results


but \(\frac{x}{0}\)= undefined, as no real number multiplied by 0 produces 1 thus 0 does not contain any multiplicative inverse.

Multiplication of any number with 0 yields 0



\(\frac{0}{0}\)=0 ,this expression is expressed in order to find the limit of the indeterminate form \(\frac{f(x)}{g(x)}\).This is called the indeterminate form.This implies that if the limit of \(\frac{f(x)}{g(x)}\) exists then it can be solved using L’Hospital’s rule.

Another very interesting fact about 0 is that 0! yields 1. It is an exceptional case of empty product.

0 is also used in propositional statements where it usually represents true or false depending upon a specific condition. It is also denoted as a zero element for addition and if defined, then zero is denoted an absorbing element for multiplication in the filed of abstract algebra.

It has several other applications in set theory ( where it is represented as the lowest ordinal number), lattice theory where zero is represented as the bottom element of a lattice(bounded), category theory and recursive theory as well. In category theory zero represents a initial value or object of a category.

By Sayantan Chakraborty

Pure Mathematics Is Love

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