Viral Math Problem Baffles Mathematicians, Physicists

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Can you solve this math problem?


The equation went viral online this week on Twitter causing major confusion over the right answer. According to mathematicians, where you grew up learning math determines how you can solve the problem. It all depends on if you use the PEMDAS order of operations or BODMAS.

So, the answer is 1.

The answer also is 16.

Read more at NY POST.



  1. Why is it baffling. Arent there more examples like this??? Just insert dofferent numbers. If you do division before multiplication you’ll get a different answer, no?

  2. This is stupid
    The answer is 16.

    Pemdas and Bodmas aren’t different.
    According to both there are 4 steps:
    1) P/B = Parenthesis/brackets (same thing)
    2) E/O = exponents/pOwer (same thing)
    3) md/dm = multiplication and division going in order left to right
    4) as = addision and subtraction going in order left to right

    Following the above steps for 8÷2(2+2)
    1) P/B Parenthesis/brackets : 8÷2(4)
    2)E/O – None in this problem: 8÷2(4)
    3) md/dm going left to right: 3a. 4(4)
    3b 16

    There is no confusion nobody who passed elementary school has any problem with this
    Granted some fools on twitter have trouble with elementry school math but no mathematicians are “baffeled)

    You can always google the answer

  3. Both rules say parenthesis/brackets go first. So if you write it out you really have:
    8 / 2 * 2

    Then both rules say that division comes before multiplication and anyway you are doing it in order you see it. So why wouldnt you get 16?

    Maybe if the equation was reversed you would have a problem trying to decide if you go in order or based on rules to do division first.
    8 * 2 / 2 =1
    But luckily the answer would be the same in both cases (no matter what numbers you use).

  4. Logically the answer is 1 because the parenthesis is grouped with the 2 connected, otherwise it would’ve been 8÷2x(2+2).

  5. “Baffles Mathematicians, Physicists”?! The only baffling part is a lack of understanding third grade arithmetics. As in problem is currently written, (2+2) is not part of the denominator, so the answer is 16. And dear pretending mathematicians, you can’t multiply denominator with a numerator, you ignoramuses. In order for the answer to be 1, the problem should be written as 8:(2(2+2)). That’s what you get with liberal brainwashing industry taking over American educational system.

  6. “That’s what you get with liberal brainwashing industry taking over American educational system.”
    You can blame lots of things on that but not this! It’s ambiguous and as a problem has been around for a while (see for example – 8 years old). It’s definitely not baffling any mathematicians – they don’t use the ÷ operator at all, not least because of this issue. It’s just poor notation.

    • 3:11, nothing complicated to those that passed their third grade math. You can rewrite the problem as: (8/1)*(1/2)*(4/1)=16.

  7. Shouldn’t the equation actually be shown as
    In which case it would equal to 8 over 8 which results in 1

    • What do you mean by “shouldn’t”
      that is a different equation the answer of which is in fact 1
      And if it was written like this 2+2 =
      the answer would be 4 .

      The way it is currently written, ie 8÷2(2+2), the answer is 16 and only 16

  8. 2:08, where you “top student” in americaner math or in liberal-socialist studies? Let me explain: 8/1*1/2*(2+2)=16. You are welcome.

  9. In USSR they taught me to do Brackets first so it is really 8/8=1.
    In USA they didn’t teach me anything new in math, except for so called “logic”.
    So if you use “logic” of taking it as it goes, first things first, you have 8/2*4=16.
    But then why write it in such a weird way?

    • 6:59, in my USSR they taught me not to divide by a number that is to be multiplied by. Why in a world would anyone consider dividing by (2+2)?! The way the problem is written, (2+2) is obviously a numerator, not a denominator. Simple 3rd grade arithmetic here. Let me explain once more: numerator is a product of 8 and 4(or 2+2), while denominator is 2. The only correct answer is 16.

  10. 5:49, it doesn’t matter what you multiple or divide first. However, what matters is whether each number is a numerator to be multiplied by, or a denominator to be divided by. The way the problem is written, (2+2) is a numerator. Hence 16.

  11. I love this story and comments. No commentator is putting down another one, nor is any specific named math genius being insulted. Clean kosher reading.


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