Negative Numbers

How Negative Numbers Arise?

In the number system, there is something called negative numbers, where an integer is denoted with a minus sign (-) before the number. These negative numbers are important to understand, not specific to 1 field, but applies to many areas of work, education, research and development. There was a big controversy with the acceptance of negative numbers till the 18th century from the conventional points of European Mathematics.  From statistics to psychology, several domains consider the role of negative numbers as important. Henceforth, this module is all about how negative numbers arise along with simple examples and features.

A General Idea about What Negative Numbers are

Negative numbers are integers with a minus value. As per the general rules drawn out from many scholars and mathematicians, it is interpreted that all the negative-valued integers are said to be lesser than zero (0). 

Speaking in the account of a number line, the negative integers are marked on the left-hand side of the line from 0.

Even qualitative data such as temperature, pressure, heat, etc. are indicated negatively. This directed quantity is mostly required in the case of absence, less value, decrease, reduction, loss, etc. 

Historical Background of How Negative numbers Arise

“Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art” -  This was the 1st book (from China) recorded in history that proved the existence of negative numbers when people once disbelieved by this value during the ancient days.

As days passed, Indians gradually started using negative numbers and was soon developed with other mathematical operations and arithmetical number systems with rules from several mathematicians of the Islamic community. This was a prominent event during the 7th century. 

Negative numbers, positive integers and zero all fall under the category of real numbers. Apart from the exception of zero (0), all the real numbers are seen either as negative or positive in today’s world. From science and mathematics to space technology and medicine, the applications of negative numbers in the modern era is uncountable.

Real-Life Examples and Applications of Negative Numbers

As we now understood the history of how negative numbers arise and its commonality in today’s date, let us now view the real-life applications and situations where one can find the use of minus-valued integers.

  • When scientists measure the temperature of the water and some chemical compound, then the mixture is said to be cold, if the thermometer (or any other measuring device) gives a negative value. 

  • Your Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery is reverse charging and 1 particular string is discharged earlier before the other (s). So, you might prefer that your battery’s voltage rate might be -4V.

  • When the selling price (SP) of 3 combs is Rs. 30 but you have Rs. 28, then Rs. - 2 represents balance value. 

  • −67.8 °C (−90.0 °F) is the record temperature of Verkhoyansk and Oymyako of the country Russia. Here, even countries and many cities of the world are represented using negative numbers for freezing climates and positive numbers for hot summer weather.

  • During banking or when involved in any other financial procedures, minus sign denotes debit value and the positive sign represents a credit value. So, next time, if the balance check sheet for your debit card states Rs. - 145, then you have a loan amount of 145 rupees to be debated in the bank. 

  • If your stock market value, expresses a number lesser than 0 (possible at rare cases), then it is understood that you have to pay for this declining value, to continue and authenticate your membership/ownership in the industry.


Negative numbers are integers that have a minus sign and usually denotes absence, low value or decrease in some quality or quantity. How negative numbers arise during the 7th century was recorded history. The first case of negative numbers was observed in the literature “Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art”.  It was not even considered true for the existence of negative numbers in ancient times. Indians started using negative-valued integers in the 7th century. But today, sources such as medicine, finance, business, mathematics, research and development, psychology, statistics, share market, etc. use negative numbers for better judgement, evaluation, correctness, and accuracy. Negative numbers are the opposite of positive numbers (+) and are marked on the left side of a number line.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What Is The Relationship Between Positive And Negative Numbers?

Both positive and negative numbers are considered as real numbers. Yet, the negative integers are said to be an additive inverse for positive numbers. Which means when 2 same numbers but with different signs are added the result is a 0. Take the example of 2. When - 2 sums up with to + 2, we get  [- 2] + [+ 2] = 0. 

2. Can A Negative Sign Be Used For A Prime Number?

Yes. Not only a prime number but even other integer forms such as a fraction, decimal, irrational digit, etc. can also have negative signs. Any type of integer lesser than 0, regardless of its units and type can have a negative sign before the number.

3. What Does Negative Value Represent Concerning Sea Levels?

Concerning sea levels, a negative value is the exact opposite of positive numbers and so, if the sea level is noted to be a minus sign value, then it represents depth or level of shallowness in the waterbed.

4. In What Topics Or Fields Are Negative Numbers Used Inside The Domain Of Science?

In the context of science, the fields or topics that use negative numbers are temperature bars, latitude charts, topographic studies, electrical and electronic circuits and boards, the impedance of TEM and other waveforms, molecules and ions, and more.

5. Give Reasons On How Negative Numbers Affect Or Impact The 4 Mathematical Operations.

When 2 negative numbers are added, the result is a bigger negative number. When 2 negative-signed integers are subtracted, the numbers are to be added, but whether the result is positive or negative depends on the sign of both the numbers. The multiplication of 2 negative numbers is a positive one but the product of 1 positive and 1 negative number is negative. Division and multiplication follow the same rule.