A straightforward mathematical operation, often utilized to find agreement on a local level, has sparked a heated dispute in cyberspace.
This math problem, which has gained renewed popularity, has left experts divided regarding its proper solution. The task in question is 8/2(2+2). How should one go about solving it?
On the surface, this appears to be a simple mathematical calculation, and yet the correct answer is hotly contested. While some argue that the answer is 1, others assert that it is 16, among other possible solutions.
In school, we were taught the order of operations: parentheses, exponents, multiplication and division, and finally, addition and subtraction, from left to right. According to these rules, we arrive at the solution of 16. Seems straightforward enough, right? Well, not quite.
If this calculation is indeed so straightforward, then why do some mathematicians contend that the solution is 1?
The reason is that in Spain and most countries, it is used the PEMDAS order explained above: Parentheses, Powers and roots, Multiplication and Division, Addition and Subtraction.
But in some places it is taught the BODMAS order that gives precedence to operations where any parentheses are involved. That is, first you have to remove the parentheses. If we apply this order:
Result is 1.
Who has the reason? Well, according to the University of Berkeley… both results are ok. The problem is that the operation is wrongly formulated. When there is ambiguity, more parentheses must be added.
If the person who wrote the formula wants you to the result is 1 must write 8/(2(2+2)). And if you want it to be 16 then the operation is (8/2)(2+2). In this way there is no room for mistakes, use the order PEMDAS or BODMAS.
A Math operation, 8/2(2+2)continues to generate debate on the Internet, because it gives rise to different results depending on who you ask. But it has a unique solution… if you reformulate it correctly.