LifestyleCentury-old math puzzle still sparks fierce debate: Is it 16 or 1?

Century-old math puzzle still sparks fierce debate: Is it 16 or 1?

A mathematical riddle that divided internet users
A mathematical riddle that divided internet users
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1:57 PM EST, December 29, 2023

Mathematical puzzles and logic riddles have a substantial following online, some even affecting sleep. The riddle mentioned here has sparked numerous debates about the result. This perplexing equation first appeared in "The American Mathematical Monthly." it has challenged brave souls who attempt to solve it. Many varied answers are put forward, but only one is correct. Is it 16 or 1? Continue reading to find out.

Before attempting to solve the equation, one must remember the order of operations taught in elementary school. First, perform operations within parentheses, then exponentiation. After that, proceed with multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction. If multiple operations of the same precedence appear in the equation, they should be solved from left to right.

A Common Equation Splits Internet Users

One faction of internet users claims the correct answer is 16, while others firmly believe it to be 1.

The problem appears straightforward at first, but many find it challenging after a moment of consideration. So, how do we solve this mathematical problem? All operations have the same priority, so we divide eight by 2. Then, we multiply the result by 4.

Hence, 8 divided by 2 yields 4, and multiplying 4 by 4 equals 16.

How did Some Internet Users Arrive at 1?

The misunderstanding arises as a result of overlooking the mathematical rules. This group of internet users mistakenly performed multiplication first and only then division. Hence, multiplying two by four and dividing the result by eight is incorrect.

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