### The Viral Math Problem That Stumped the Internet

The internet often presents conundrums that spark debates, just like the infamous blue and black dress. In 2019, a viral math problem – 8 ÷ 2(2 + 2) – posted on Twitter caused widespread debate, not only on Twitter but across social media.

### The Divide Among Editors

Editors at Popular Mechanics, a lifestyle magazine, found themselves divided over this math problem. In their workplace chat, they debated the correct answer. One group followed the “PEMDAS” rule (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction), solving the equation step by step.

**Solve Parentheses**: 2 + 2 = 4**Rewrite Equation**: 8 ÷ 2 × 4**Follow Order**: 8 ÷ 2 = 4, then 4 × 4 = 16

They concluded that the answer is 16.

### An Alternate Interpretation

The other half of the editors argued the answer is 1, using a different interpretation of PEMDAS. They treated the sum within the parentheses as if it were still in parentheses:

**Solve Parentheses**: 2 + 2 = 4**Rewrite Equation**: 8 ÷ 2(4)**Interpret as Multiplication**: 8 ÷ (2 × 4) = 8 ÷ 8 = 1

### Expert Opinions

The debate caught the attention of mathematicians and scientists. Mike Breen from the American Mathematical Society said the correct answer, based on order of operations, is 16. However, he acknowledged the equation’s ambiguity.

“In math, ambiguities exist. Mathematicians aim for precise rules. According to strict order of operations, you get 16, but I wouldn’t fault someone for saying 1,” he stated.

Physics Professor Rhett Allain from Southeastern Louisiana University added, “This is about conventions, just like spelling ‘gray’ or ‘grey.’ We understand both.” He suggested writing the equation as 8/(2*(2+2)), which yields 1.

### The Ongoing Debate

What do you think is the correct answer to the equation? Is it 1 or 16? Let us know your thoughts, and share this with family and friends to see what they think!