6÷2(1+2) = ? Mathematician Explains The Correct Answer



Author: MindYourDecisions

What is 6÷2(1+2) = ? This problem went viral and generated millions of comments on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and social media sites. I explain how to get the correct answer by using the modern interpretation of the order of operations. I also explain how you would get a different answer under historical usage of the division symbol. (Note: some people write 6/2(1 + 2) = but this has the same answer.)

I studied Mathematics and Economics at Stanford. Press coverage of my work:

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*I get many, many emails about this problem and am unable to reply to them.

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Slate explains the history of the division symbol
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/03/facebook_math_problem_why_pemdas_doesn_t_always_give_a_clear_answer.html

Here is a 1917 article from “The American Mathematical Monthly” that explains the usage of the division symbol as an exception to the order of operations
http://www.jstor.org/stable/2972726?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Google evaluation
https://www.google.com/#q=6%C3%B72(1%2B2)

WolframAlpha evaluation
http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=6%C3%B72(1%2B2)

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