Decimal Notation

  • K. V. Sarma
Reference work entry

Decimal notation is a system which imparts to nine figures (digits) an absolute numerical value and also a positional value which latter increases their value ten times by being shifted by one place to the left. Thus, the digits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, coupled with the figure ‘0’ which stands for zero or śūnya (nothing, empty), while expressing just their individual values when standing alone, can express also any quantity of any magnitude by their repeated use in the same number, and shifting of places, as needed. The importance of this contrivance is apparent from the words of the great French mathematician Laplace, when he says, “The idea of expressing all quantities by nine figures whereby both an absolute value and one by position is imparted to them is so simple that this very simplicity is the reason for our not being sufficiently aware how much admiration it deserves” (Srinivasaingar 1967). Halstead observes, “The importance of the creation of the zero mark can never...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • K. V. Sarma

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