In 2019, a Twitter account named @pjmdoll posed a seemingly simple math question: 8:2(2 + 2) = ?. The elementary-level math problem then attracted 13 million likes and hundreds of thousands of comments in just one month. And up to now, every time the problem is brought up again, the results still surprise many people.
This math has made the world crazy and divided forever
So what makes this basic calculus so controversial? The reason is because people give 2 completely different results and both don’t understand why there is a different answer. Specifically, there are two streams of opinion, the answer is 1 or 16. The person who calculated 1 called on those who followed the 16 side to publicize their disturbing knowledge. The person who counted 16 said that faction 1 should apologize to the 1st grade teacher.
Even pressing the calculator can give 2 different results
According to an online poll, the person who answered 1 is the majority. According to mathematical principles, obviously the calculation in brackets will be calculated first, so it will be 8 : 2 x 4 = ?. Then people take 2 x 4 and have the equation: 8 : 8 = 1.
However, the truth is that the answer to this math problem must be 16. Many people have fallen into the same surprisingly simple trap. After adding the preferred calculation in brackets, we must apply the law of multiplication and division first, addition and subtraction after, and calculate from left to right. So the division had to be done before the multiplication, but everyone “conveniently” multiplied so it got messed up.
After breaking the brackets, we have to do the division first
In fact, this calculation would suffice as 8: 2 x (2 + 2). According to the order of precedence in brackets, we will have the operation 8: 2 x (4). Continuing to use the order from left to right, we will take 8:2 first and then multiply the result by 4 to get the answer as 16.
If you want the answer to be 1, the problem needs to be written like this: 8 : (2(2 + 2)).
According to American mathematician Presh Talwalkar from Stanford University, it is not uncommon for so many people to count as 1. This is still considered the correct answer if we live in… 100 years ago. The reason is because in the past, the order of precedence in mathematics was applied according to the BODMAS naming convention. According to BODMAS, multiplying 2 always with the result in brackets is correct. However, today the world has adopted the new convention that PEMDAS no longer accepts this order.