Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum



Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by Drexel University or The Math Forum.


Math Forum » Discussions » Inactive » Historia-Matematica

Topic: [HM] A question around zero
Replies: 23   Last Post: Jan 31, 2000 3:36 AM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
Ed Wall

Posts: 837
Registered: 12/3/04
[HM] A question around zero
Posted: Jan 20, 2000 2:44 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply


Last week I sat in on a class of teachers and the topic of the
evenness or oddness of zero came up. The primary stances taken by the
participants were essentially it was even or neither. Interested, I
checked out a few mathematical sources and found there was support
for both views: if one defines evenness or oddness on the integers
(either positive or all), then zero seems to be taken to be even; and
if one only defines evenness and oddness on the natural numbers, then
zero seems to be neither.

My impression is that conceptually even and oddness (in a few
variations) substantially predated zero and the negative integers. So
my question is: it known when and how evenness and oddness were
extended from the natural numbers to the integers? There seems to
have been substantial dislike of the negative integers (one source
mentions into the 1800s) so an early extension might have been to the
positive integers (although zero being even seems most useful if the
negative integers are included).

Ed Wall





Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© Drexel University 1994-2014. All Rights Reserved.
The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.