# Zero, some math genius's needed.

wolfie3000 10:09 15 Dec 2008
Locked

Big discussion tonight with a few online gamers about the number Zero,

Some say its a positive number other say its negative,

For me zero implies nothingness so its negative,
A direct opposite of infinity.

Others say that its a positive number and that minus numbers -1 -2 -3 ect.. are the only negative numbers.

But surely having a minus number like -2 is a positive due to there having to be something there for it to exist, e.g. a value on it.

This all started as we were writing a script for a server that needed negative numbers in it.

What exciting lives we lead lol.

Al94 10:14 15 Dec 2008

Al94 10:16 15 Dec 2008

Mr Mistoffelees 10:19 15 Dec 2008

My own thought is that as zero is neither negative or positive, simply nothing.

johndrew 10:20 15 Dec 2008

Since you obviously wish to involve yourselves in some very deep thinking - the concept of `zero` has taken a lot of consideration - i suggest you look through this lot click here

If this is a bit heavy, perhaps this abridged version will suit you better click here

Or you could simply use the dictionary and baffle yourself a bit more click here

Forum Editor 10:20 15 Dec 2008

Zero is a cipher used to indicate something that has no measurable or otherwise determinable value. It can be described as an independent value between +1 and -1, it's an absence of value, and can't be divided by itself, or by anything else.

For the purposes of your discussion it's neither a positive or a negative number, because it isn't a number at all - it's a cipher that indicates an absence of value.

Toneman 11:21 15 Dec 2008

In the same way that "black" is the absence of light, not a colour in itself?...

skeletal 11:50 15 Dec 2008

This is a bit like asking if “noon” is the morning, or afternoon. It is neither, it is the time between morning and afternoon, like zero is the point between positive and negative numbers.

It is also extremely useful as a number placement, and in computing is usually a low voltage level used to represent a binary state that is not “1”…hmmm…a cipher!

I would suggest it is not the opposite of infinity; for me, the opposite of infinity is minus infinity. The problem here is to define what you mean by “opposite”. If you add another word e.g. “size” you can say “infinite size” which you could argue is the opposite of “zero size”. However, you can get into a bit of trouble because infinity is usually an asymptotic point that is never actually reached, thus to be “opposite” you really need an asymptotic point “the other way”, or in this example “infinitesimally small”, which is not actually zero.

A minus number is not positive. What you mean is that a minus number has magnitude. Indeed the magnitude of a minus number can be positive. This crops up a lot in physics and leads to the idea of a vector and a scalar quantity.

You say: “My speed is 30MPH”. Speed is a scalar quantity and the positive number 30 is the magnitude of your speed. Velocity is a vector quantity and as such requires direction; you can say: “My velocity is 30MPH due north”. The magnitude 30 is the same, but we have introduced the concept of direction “north”. Now it gets interesting because you can now say: “My velocity is minus 30MPH due north”. Again the magnitude is the same, but because the velocity is negative we conclude it is in the opposite direction (to before), or in conventional terms, due south. Here the meaning of “opposite” is also clear.

Skeletal

iambeavis 13:30 15 Dec 2008

iambeavis 13:34 15 Dec 2008

iambeavis 13:36 15 Dec 2008

Wrong again. The "_(number)" is part of the url, the "click here" is rejecting it.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Alienware 17 R4 2017 review

These brilliant Lego posters show just what children's imaginations are capable of

Mac power user tips and hidden tricks

Comment réinitialiser votre PC, ordinateur portable ou tablette Windows ?