This cheeky yet powerful number has caused more controversy and provided more delight than any other digit I know. For one thing, it allows us to forecast the future. But to comprehend why and to understand zero’s power, you first have to understand its birth and its battles, because zero’s path to greatness was a rocky one.
Zero as a concept has been around since ancient times, popping up in Babylonian and Mayan inscriptions, when it was used it to calculate the passage of the seasons. Ancient scholars employed it as a symbol to represent the absence of a number, like the way we use a zero in 101 or 102 to signify that there are no multiples of 10 in the middle position. For the Babylonians, it was two little dart symbols on their sides.
Read the whole thing via Reddit: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20161206-we-couldnt-live-without-zero-but-we-once-had-to