The Royal Institution recently published a video explaining the story behind zero. Narrated by Hannah Fry and delightfully animated by Andrew Khosravani, the video quickly winds through 1,500 years of mathematical history. We learn how zero became both a placeholder and a number in its own right — from zero's first explicit appearance in ancient India, to its initial resistance in Europe, to its pivotal role in abstract mathematics. Watch the video below.

Feature image via Vimeo/The Royal Institute