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Maths puzzle that should be simple divides the nation


A deceptively simple maths question has divided, ahem, the nation with people unable to agree what the solution should be.

The simple puzzle involves nothing more than dividing six by two, and adding one to two, but people just can’t get the answer straight.

The puzzle so split the nation that the mathematical principle BIDMAS started to trend on Twitter as people argued over what the answer should be.

The acronym reminds people what order parts of an equation should be tackled in – which is not normally the kind of thing an entire country would get up in arms in during the weekend I’m A Celebrity returned and John Lewis released its Christmas advert.

But according to The Mirror, the maths problem went vital and saw thousands of people adding comments.

The number of answers seemed to multiply as lockdown subtracted anything more useful to do.

The simple puzzle, shared on Twitter asks people to solve 6÷2(1+2)=

And simple as it seems, no-one could agree on the answer.

In general, people came up with either nine or one.

Those who say the answer is 9 argue you should tackle the equation by solving the brackets (1+2=3) and then divide 6 by two (also three) before multiplying it). 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.”





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