Mathematics is known for hair-splitting precision. Nevertheless, this mystery divides the minds of the Internet. Even experts disagree.

Frankfurt – Basically it looks very simple: 8: 2 (2 + 2). But there are two plausible-sounding solutions behind it and, as always, the Internet, especially social media such as Twitter, has plenty of opinions on it. While one camp is firmly convinced that the solution is 1, the other side has long postulated that 16 is the only correct solution. Funny thing about the whole matter: Even the experts who want to shed some light on the numbers do not agree. What is the solution now?

## Math puzzle: Internet splits because of simple calculation

Let’s first go through the calculation with an open mind. When it comes to the first step, everyone agrees: the parentheses must first be calculated. So 8:2(2+2) becomes 8:2×4. Because everyone learned at school: brackets before the dot before the dash. Now it gets difficult, because it is precisely this rule that presents us with a problem.

Both 8:2 and 2×4 are point calculations, so which one comes first? The result depends on this: If you first calculate 8:2 and then multiply by 4, you get 16. If you first calculate 2×4 and then insert this result into the division (i.e. 8:8), you get 1. Certainly no problem with this one Incidentally, Bad Hersfeld’s mathematics genius Abdulrahman Arafat would have done the math.

## Arithmetic puzzle: “The answer is 16 and all other answers are embarrassing”

Let’s stay completely neutral and give both sides a chance to explain themselves. What do those who think 16 is the solution say? They refer to the fact that mathematics is calculated from left to right. Accordingly, first 8/2, and then the result must be multiplied by 4. The result: 16. Quite simply actually.

The math teachers Stefan Gelhorn and Sven Gemmler also confirm 16 as the correct result on their respective YouTube channels. Both call 16 the only correct solution to the calculation using the notation given above.

## Twitter debate: “Whoever says 16 has to repeat the math course”

Now the group with the result 1 is of course under pressure. They are just as sure. They claim that everything that comes after the : in the calculation could also be written as a fraction under the 8. It belongs together and must first be calculated. The result: 1.

While there are few experts who see 1 as the only correct solution, many, such as Hannah Fry on the *Daily Mail* or Mike Breen on *Women’s Health* , see the problem in the ambiguous notation. According to them, it is unclear how the calculation should be interpreted and therefore both solutions are correct.

The experts are not really unanimous either. Unfortunately, we cannot provide a correct explanation, let alone a correct result. For once, everyone is right in math today, or at least everyone whose result was 1 or 16. Debates about school material are more common on Twitter, here for example about the relevance of poetry interpretations. (loud)