Straightforward maths problem divides the nation – and few agree on answer

Straightforward maths problem divides the nation – and few agree on answer

November 16, 2020

There was even more lockdown frustration this weekend as thousands tried to unpick a simple maths questions which divided the UK.

Forget Strictly, The Crown or even I'm A Celebrity – this was everyone was really talking about.

BIDMAS has been trending over the past few days as people tried to kill time by getting to the bottom of the equation.

Of course, as we all know from our schooldays, BIDMAS is an acronym outlining the correct order to solve suck a puzzle – Brackets, Indices, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.

According to the Mirror, it hit social media and the 'viral math problem' really got people talking.

It simply asks people to solve: 6÷2(1+2)= – and once it was posted, users were soon refusing to put their phones away.

It got spicy, and the comments quickly started to flow online.

The problem is no one can agree on whether the answer is 1 or 9, with both sides claiming "you're an idiot" if you don't agree with their solution.

Those who say the answer is 9 argue you should tackle the equation by solving the brackets (1+2=3) and multiplying it by 6÷2 (also 3). 3×3=9.

But others say it should be completed by solving the brackets (1+2=3) and multiplying it by 2 (3×2=6). That leaves 6÷6=1.

Both sides even attempted to argue that their logic followed the rules of BIDMAS and the other didn't – while some just couldn't believe what lockdown has already come to.

One replied to say: "The UK's been in lockdown for less than 10 days and we've already f***ing lost it."

Another added: "WTF is wrong with the UK, BIDMAS is trending on a Saturday and it's a blinking maths question!"

But many attempted to act as peacemaker to explain the answer could be either 1 or 9, writing: "The problem is inherently ambiguous and there’s no convention that produces a definitive answer, BIDMAS or no BIDMAS.

"It needs to be rephrased as (6÷2)(1+2) OR 6÷(2(1+2)) or there’s no right answer."

We knew it all along, of course.

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