Zeros are critical to mathematics, astronomy and engineering

Carol Yepes / Getty

The human brain may have learned to comprehend the figure zero and apply it to our lives by making a primitive neural pathway more sophisticated. Better understanding this could help people who struggle to understand numbers after a stroke.

Zeros are used in many aspects of society, from astronomy and engineering to accounting and literature. To understand the figure’s origin, Benjy Barnett and Steve Fleming at University College London used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to record the magnetic fields produced by 29 people’s brains…

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