Nothing Comes of Nothing

To quote Jon McGrew, (quoting Donald McIntyre, I believe):

We have the Arabs to thank for Zero, and Ken Iverson to thank for nothing.

Kenneth E. Iverson Memorial Video by Catherine – MySpace Video

I’m flipping through Charles Seife’s  Zero and thinking about the meeting I had yesterday with my new film lawyer. Perhaps it is only co-incidence that I’m holding both topics in my head at this moment. After all, Ms Laura spotted the book on my shelf yesterday and loving all things Mathematical exclaimed enthusiastically, “My dad is reading that book!”

zero_0001Zero clashed with one of the central tenets of Western philosophy, a dictum whose roots were in the number-philosophy of Pythagoras and whose importance came from the paradoxes of Zeno.  The whole Greek universe rested upon this pillar: there is no void…

Before they could accept zero, philosophers in the West would have to destroy their universe.

[page 25]

And did I mention I met my new lawyer yesterday?

Today?  Economics homework & I’m meeting up with EBI!


2 Responses to “Nothing Comes of Nothing”

  • Catherine,
    Be sure to ask Jim Brown for empty array jokes.

  • I recommend also “The Nothing that Is: A Natural History of Zero” by Robert Kaplan. There were several points in that book where I found myself thinking about Iverson languages.

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