09 May 2011

Tricky mathematics : Let's reverse engineer 6 / 2(1+2) = 1 or 9 ?

Recently, people are arguing the answer a simple mathematic solution of 6 / 2(1+2).
Generally there are two possible solutions for this tricky question.
1. The anwer is NINE. This is because the general rule of mathematic tells us that we should always calculate the thing inside the ( ) first, and then do the calculation of multiplication or division from left to right, and finally do the calculation of sum or minus.
That is, 6 / 2(1+2) = 6 / 2 (3) = 3 (3) = 9
2. The answer is ONE. Why? Let me do a simple "reverse engineering" from ONE.

That is: 1 = 6 / 6 = 6 / 2(3) = 6 / 2(1+2)
Therefore, we believe the question is quite confusing. However, obviously, if we use proper symbols, i.e. 6 / 2 * (1+2), the anwer will be NINE; or, 6 / (2*(2+1)), the answer will be ONE.
Next time, when you face this kind of question, simply provide two answers or just ask them to specify the requirement. As a rule of thumb, please always "cross your t's, and dot your i's". Again, this kind of question is not sometime worth for us to spend lots of time to argue about since we have lots of serious problems or issues which are waiting for us to solve. Maybe, it is just a simple typo error.

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Written by: Xaivier Chia


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