Anyone who has taken a Computer Science course will know about the “Divide by Zero” error message. In mathematics, you cannot divide by zero because it’s an operation that you can’t find an answer to. I always wondered why exactly you couldn’t do it. It took me a while to understand it but later on I came to the same fork in the road and found myself wondering about it again.

The reason why you cannot divide by zero is because of the way that division and multiplication are related. A number multiplied by another number will give you a product. So the product divided by one of the numbers should give you the other number. But with zero, it doesn’t work out.

325 / 25 = 13 because 13 x 25 = 325
325 / 0 = ? because ? x 0 = 325

Zero multiplied by any number will produce zero so you cannot divided by zero. If you were to think about it, it would seem to make sense to say that a number divided by zero is that number. Since zero means nothing and if you’re dividing by nothing, you’re not dividing at all. So shouldn’t the answer be the initial number? When you’re talking about it, it may work but mathematics is a whole other language of its own. Saying something one way works out to be the same if you were to say it completely backwards.

Multiplication involves grouping thing together and division involves separating them into those groups. In the example above, 13 groups of 25 will give you a total of 325 units. But how many groups of zeros can you separate into 325? You can’t do it because no number of groups of zero will give you 325. So anything divided by zero becomes undefined because the multiplication isn’t consistent with the division.

The only time where the multiplication is consistent with the division is if you multiply zero by zero and divide zero by zero. For both equations you get zero as the answer. But this seems to be the only case where it works. It doesn’t work anywhere else. This is know as an indeterminate.

Only recently has something come up to explain this issue with dividing by zero. It was solved by a university professor, Dr. James Anderson. He has found a way to explain zero to the zero power, an equation that was unsolved for 1200 years. The explanation appears to be rather simple too. The equation is as follows:

∞ = 1/0
-∞ = -1/0
Φ = 0/0

=01 x 0-1
=(0/1)1 x (0/1)-1
=0/1 x 1/0

The symbol I used is the Phi, it’s the closest thing that I could find to resemble Dr. Answer’s number nullity. This theory will make computing any number possible. If it works out, it will also prevent computers from failing when there is a division by zero. You can read up on the full article and watch the video at the link below.


2 replies on “Nullity”

  1. iono, i always thought that any number divided by a denominator of 0 produces a result of infinity, that is, if you think of it this way. say you have a value of 10 and a denominator of 1, as 1 approaches 0, the magnitude of the result approaches infinity

    hmm… if you do 0/0 on calc… it produces a funny result ;D
    it just tells you how much ms test their software! ;D

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