Tips&TricksTricky equation confuses public: Mathematical misconception leads to widespread error

Tricky equation confuses public: Mathematical misconception leads to widespread error

This mathematical equation stumps almost everyone.
This mathematical equation stumps almost everyone.
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1:17 PM EST, February 1, 2024

At first glance, this mathematical equation appears simple, but most people stumble. Self-assuredness and a lack of mathematical knowledge can lead to incorrect calculations despite one's best efforts to prove otherwise. Mathematics does not allow for subjective interpretation — the answer can only be one. So, how do you find the correct result for this challenging equation?

How do you solve this challenging mathematical equation?

Beginning with a careful look at the equation is an excellent first step when tackling this complicated problem. It's often stated that "the devil is in the details," and in the case of this equation, it's no exception. Seeing the exponentiation, many might feel overwhelmed, but is that a cause for stress or fear? It's best to set aside emotions in math because they can mislead you and discourage you from finding the correct solution.

Once ready, you can attempt to solve the equation. But are you sure you're ready? Not only are a pen and paper required, but you also need to remember the mathematical rules you learned in school. Quite a few of us no longer remember them, let alone use them daily. Most people are proficient at calculating their finances, which can help when solving riddles or mathematical puzzles. Where should you start? Start at the beginning with the exponentiation, which may seem intimidating. How did you solve these problems back in school?

What's the correct solution to this equation?

Many people quickly declare the number 162 as the correct result, which is unfortunately incorrect. This is mainly due to miscalculations involving exponentiation, causing some to forget the fundamental mathematical rules. If multiplying two negative numbers in this equation gives a positive result, you might believe 162 is the correct answer, which would be a mistake. This would only be true for an equation like "(-9)^2+81". Remember how we mentioned the "devil in the details"? That devil could come in handy now as we tackle this equation.

The exponentiation "-9^2" has no brace, so only 9 is squared, leaving the minus sign alone. So, the operation becomes "-81+81=0," which is the only correct solution, leaving no room for debate. If you're holding onto 162 as your result, you can continue to do so but know that it won't be correct. A small miscalculation in the exponent, a slight mistake, carries massive implications in the case of this equation.

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