Welcome to another perplexing problem that is making rounds on the Internet. Twitter user @pjmoll recently posted a straightforward and simple enough mathematics equation with the caption ‘oomfies solve this’ and has managed to divide the Internet into two factions. The equation was: 8 ÷ 2(2+2) =?
As it happens, even calculators gave different answers to the question. We now have two popular answers that have the Internet divided, and each person claiming to be a math expert and trying to prove the others wrong. One group believes that the answer is 16, whereas the other group believes the answer to be 1.
The issue with this particular mathematics problem is that it has been set up to be misleading. However, as is with the equations of mathematics; there is bound to be a correct answer. Whether you have been taught algebra using the BODMAS system (Brackets, order, division, multiplication, addition, subtraction) or the PEMDAS (parentheses, indices, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) method.
As per Wikipedia, ‘Similarly, there can be ambiguity in the use of the slash symbol / in expressions such as 1/2x. If one rewrites this expression as 1 ÷ 2x and then interprets the division symbol as indicating multiplication by the reciprocal. With this interpretation, 1 ÷ 2x is equal to (1 ÷ 2)x. However, in some of the academic literature, multiplication denoted by juxtaposition (also known as implied multiplication) is interpreted as having higher precedence than division, so that 1 ÷ 2x equals 1 ÷ (2x), not (1 ÷ 2)x.
So, what do you think the answer is? The actual confusion starts with whether the (2+2) is being multiplied by the 2 in the denominator or is part of the numerator and must be multiplied with the numerator that is 8. Anyhow, do let us know what you think of the equation and what do you believe the answer to be!