Who Invented the Number System?

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The number system used today, known as the base 10 number system, was first invented by the Egyptians around 3100 BC. Find out how the Hindu-Arabic number system helped shape the current number system with information from a math teacher in this free video on math history.

Part of the Video Series: Math Problems & History
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Video Transcript

So who invented the number system that we know of today. Hi, I'm Jimmy. I've been teaching college math for nine years now and the number system that we use today was not always the number system that we used over the centuries. It has a long evolution so here's a little brief overview as to where we've been and where the number systems have come from. The first... one of the first earliest number systems that we know of is around 3400 BC when the Mesopotamians came up with a base sixty number system. Now, we use currently a base ten number system, which uses ten characters, though a base sixty number system uses sixty characters. Can you imagine if we had a sixty character system today? We'd all go crazy. Wouldn't we? But the first base ten number system was about three hundred years later in 3100 BC when the Egyptians came up with the first known base ten number system. Now, over time we've had numbers... other number systems being developed. The Mayan number system was one of the more famous systems over time because the kept a lot of records with their system and they used a base ten twenty number system. One involving twenty characters. But the number system that really helped shape our system today was the Hindu-Arabic number system. Now, we have a base ten system, but the original Hindu-Arabic system was originally nine characters. They used the numbers one through nine. The number zero was not added until later when the number zero was actually discovered in India. And with that, it was incorporated into the existing Hindu-Arabic system which is ten characters. And that is how our number system is today. So that gives you an overview as to the history of this. And so I'm Jimmy and that is a brief overview as to who invented the number system.


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