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Title Work

Title No: 24639

Title: Zero: something for nothing

Medium: Moving Image

Original Medium: Film


1971 (Release)

1971 (Copyright)

Original Summary:
"The story takes place in Sorcery City where everything, from frying eggs to mathematics, is conducted by magic. When a mathemagician wants to add to numbers, he must summon mystic spirits, which represent the numbers. One day, a young mathemagician summons a zero to be added to a six. A ghost floats in, hovers over the six, and floats away, leaving the six unchanged. The older mathemagicians, not realizing the existence of zero, insist that the apprentice be taken to court and tried for his unauthorized antics.

The judge confronts the apprentice: "Zero is another name for nothing, isn't it? How can there be a spirit of nothing? If you cast spells for spirits that don't exist, the spirits might get mad."

Insisting that zero exists, the accused demonstrates with magic spells that zero has definite properties in addition and subtraction. But he hesitates over the division spell, because he doesn't know "what the zero spirit will do." When he does summon the ghostly zero spirit, it swoops past the numeral six, and the six crumbles and falls apart (because the outcome of dividing with zero is undefined).

At last the symbol for zero appears in the multiplication spell, and the judge is convinced that zero does exist. The spectators applaud the young mathemagician, and zero joins the number system." - Summary from the teacher's guide.

Part of the Exploring Mathematics series.

Countries of Origin: U.S.A.

Duration: 8 min 20 sec 

Forms: Animation

Genres: Educational

Subjects: Mathematics

StoryBogas, Ed
Production CompanyDavidson Films
Cast/ActorHough, Louis
StoryRose, Mitchell
Cast/ActorRose, Mitchell
Cast/ActorSmith, Peter
Animator/Head of AnimationVan Horn, William
Cast/ActorVan Horn, William
Distribution CompanyXerox Films

Items x14

24639-1Safety Film : Viewing print 
24639-2Safety Film : Viewing print 
24639-3Safety Film : Viewing print 
24639-4Safety Film : Viewing print 
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24639-9Safety Film : Viewing print 
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24639-11Safety Film : Viewing print 
24639-12Safety Film : Viewing print 
24639-13Safety Film : Viewing print 
24639-14Safety Film : Viewing print 

Contained By x1

Title NoTitle
4819St. Louis Public Schools educational film library