A viral equation has been making rounds on social media after the answer of a math PhD left the internet confused.
For some time now, a simple and yet confusing math problem has been baffling internet users with its answers. Now, it’s time to put a stop to confusion and explain the math equation in question once and for all.
The math problem goes as follows: 230 – 220 ÷ 2 = ?
To complicate the matters, the text next to it says: “I say it’s 120. A math PhD says it is 5! Who is right?”
It’s time to put your math skills to the test and solve the equation. What’s your answer? Do you agree with us or with the math PhD who claimed the result is 5!?
Though 120 is the correct answer, the math PhD is not incorrect either. We will explain how that is possible in a moment.
First, let’s solve the equation!
Here’s the correct way:
230 – 220 ÷ 2 = 230 – 110 = 120
Here’s the wrong way:
230 – 220 ÷ 2 = 10 ÷ 2 = 5
There is no way that the answer can be FIVE because division always has higher priority than subtraction, meaning you are not allowed to subtract 220 from 230 before evaluating division on the right side of the equation.
But the question remains: How can the math PhD be correct as well? Note that the mathematician didn’t say the answer can be 5. Instead, they said 5!.
The exclamation after the number 5 stands for the factorial operation whereas 5! equals 5 factorial.
Therefore, 5! = 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 120. Though the correct answer to the equation definitely can’t be 5, it can be 5!.
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