Greetings Wolfram Alpha,
I am one of the administrators for The Enlightened Consciousness Group on Facebook which has 57,000 members who are fighting over the answer to this seemingly simple equation. The variance in answers and them showing their work has me questioning my own math.
6 ÷ 2(1+2) = ?
The three most common answers on this topic are 9,1, and 7. The logic behind these answers has me questioning my own basic mathematics, so I come to the authority for the answer. The biggest discrepancy is due to the order of operations and that 2 touching the parenthesis.
I was taught to simplify the inside of parenthesis, then work left to right using PEMDAS. Using this method I get 6 ÷ 2(3) = 3(3) = 9
Others have said that you must distribute the 2 before division because it touches the parenthesis. Their math shows 6 ÷ 2(1+2) = 6 ÷ 2 + 4 = 7
Others have said that you evaluate the left and right side of the obelus as independent expressions. Their math shows 6 ÷ 2(1+2) = 6 ÷ 6 = 1
Finally, there was an article written on slate.com written by a math teacher, who asserts that unless specifically stated there is no definitely right way to interpret the equation--and that order of operations is not always appropriate.
Please advise!
Orion Reynolds