Why can't Scientists and People Understand PEMDAS?

  • Thread starter ZeroPivot
  • Start date
In summary, a physicist posted a video on YouTube claiming that the order of operations was wrong and sparked a heated debate. However, his claims have been proven to be incorrect and arbitrary rules, while they may seem frustrating, are necessary to avoid ambiguity in mathematical expressions.
  • #1
ZeroPivot
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I mean if a normal person doesn't understand it that's fine but when scientists are wrong about it it drives me insane

watch this vid from this physicist:

it makes me want to murder kittens!

LEFT to RIGHT, addition substraction are interchangable same thing with multiplication and division.

it makes me sooooooooo angry when they think or assume that addition has precedensce over substraction why are people so SLOW in the head and this is suppose to be a physicist!
 
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  • #2
Scientists, in general, do NOT post on "youtube". Whoever posted that was clearly NOT a scientist so your outrage, while clearly deserved, is misplaced. (And please don't take it out on the kittens!)
 
  • #3
ZeroPivot said:
I mean if a normal person doesn't understand it that's fine but when scientists are wrong about it it drives me insane

watch this vid from this physicist:

it makes me want to murder kittens!

LEFT to RIGHT, addition substraction are interchangable same thing with multiplication and division.

it makes me sooooooooo angry when they think or assume that addition has precedensce over substraction why are people so SLOW in the head and this is suppose to be a physicist!


Different kinds of minds. Some catch-on very easily and others do not. Order of Operations and the meanings of grouping symbols are mostly intuitive for me. I would seem to be sharing your advantage for this about Arithmetic skills.
 
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  • #4
symbolipoint said:
Different kinds of minds. Some catch-on very easily and others do not. Order of Operations and the meanings of grouping symbols are mostly intuitive for me. I would seem to be sharing your advantage for this about Arithmetic skills.

What is your take on grouping symbols, ie:
2(2+1) ÷ 2(2+1) ?

Do the parentheses and factor of the inner terms take priority over division?
Cheers.
 
  • #5
ZeroPivot said:


So he got it wrong. How many times have you been told not to believe everything on the internet? What did your kittens do to deserve abuse because someone said something wrong on the internet?

Multiple things wrong, actually. I was dubious that Frank Reich could have made a video that has a crackpot title. But yes, that's exactly what he did. I stopped watching when he got to the point of saying "a mathematician will tell you that 8-2+1 is really 8+(-2)+1." No, she won't. Not if she knows her mathematics. What if the domain is the natural numbers where there is no such thing as -2?



caper_26 said:
What is your take on grouping symbols, ie:
2(2+1) ÷ 2(2+1) ?

Do the parentheses and factor of the inner terms take priority over division?
Strictly speaking, no. That's 9. You obviously want the answer to be one. Or something else other than 9.

IMO, an even better answer is the answer your doctor gives you when you complain "Doctor, it hurts when I do this."

"Well don't do that then."


Don't intentionally try to create ambiguous expressions. Use parentheses, or use a nice typesetting system such as TeX to create unambiguous expressions.

Note that this means we physicists should stop using expressions such as ##1/(e^{h\nu/kT}-1)##.
 
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  • #6
D H said:
Strictly speaking, no. That's 9. You obviously want the answer to be one. Or something else other than 9.

What is 4(a+b)³ ÷ 2(a+b)² ??
 
  • #8
I can't believe people are getting all upset over arbitrary rules.

And you guys are calling him a crackpot over it! Over arbitrary rules...
 
  • #9
Turion said:
I can't believe people are getting all upset over arbitrary rules.
Are they arbitrary? Of course. Without those rules the expression 1+2*3 would be ambiguous. We would have to use parentheses everywhere to remove the ambiguity. Those arbitrary rules exist to let us get rid of some of those parentheses. Even though they're arbitrary, those rules must be standard to keep ambiguity from creeping in.

Or we could use prefix or postfix notation. There's no confusion there. We're stuck with infix, however, so we either need parentheses or arbitrary rules that enable us to eliminate some of the parentheses.

And you guys are calling him a crackpot over it! Over arbitrary rules...
This is not Reich's shining moment. This video is no different than someone who starts a thread at this site entitled "Relativity is wrong!".To avoid any future arguments, please read the FAQ [thread=494675]48÷2(9+3) and similar[/thread].
 
  • #10
caper_26 said:
What is your take on grouping symbols, ie:
2(2+1) ÷ 2(2+1) ?

Do the parentheses and factor of the inner terms take priority over division?
Cheers.

The each grouped expressions is first understood as number separate from all other numbers in the entire full expression and no confusion is found. That is the meaning of using grouping symbols. They give a boundary, a symbolism boundary to express a number or expression of numbers separately from other numeric symbols near it.

I myself do have some faults in my PEMDAS knowledge and I might make a mistake in handling your expression given there. This is why I usually will not use the division symbol which you show. I would use rational expressions when appropriate and NOT the division operator with the top & bottom dot.
 
  • #11
Thanks for your thoughts on that parenthetical grouping topic. Obviously, discussion in sane form is not really welcome here as a few of my posts after that were deleted... a perfectly accepted way of using the rules of simplification, and some other discussion points on order of operations to the OP. It seems a nerve was touched and they felt a need to pull internet rank, lol. And then of course, they go make their own points, as if some almighty authority on the discussion, while mine get deleted. Anyway, best regards to you.
Cheers pal.
 
  • #12
D H said:
This is not Reich's shining moment. This video is no different than someone who starts a thread at this site entitled "Relativity is wrong!".

If you watched the whole video, you would notice that at the end he says the order of operations is not technically wrong, but morally wrong.
 
  • #13
TysonM8 said:
If you watched the whole video, you would notice that at the end he says the order of operations is not technically wrong, but morally wrong.

That's even worse. The order of operations is what it is, learn it, use it, the end.
 
  • #14
Turion said:
I can't believe people are getting all upset over arbitrary rules.

And you guys are calling him a crackpot over it! Over arbitrary rules...
A guy is certainly a crackpot if he opposes established arbitrary rules in favour of other arbitrary rules that have no advantage over the already established rules.

Established reality is a weighty matter not to be pushed aside arbitrarily.
:smile:
 
  • #15
We even have people here that don't understand pemdas where are they coming from?
 
  • #16
This thread is causing silly arguments and is getting people in trouble.

Thread closed.
 

1. Why is PEMDAS so important in mathematics and science?

PEMDAS is the order of operations used in mathematics and science to determine the correct sequence of operations when solving a mathematical expression. It stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division (from left to right), and Addition and Subtraction (from left to right). This order is crucial in ensuring that everyone arrives at the same answer when solving a mathematical problem.

2. Why is it difficult for some people to understand PEMDAS?

PEMDAS can be challenging to understand because it requires a strong foundation in basic math principles. Many people struggle with it because they may not have a strong understanding of math concepts such as multiplication and division before learning about PEMDAS. Additionally, the order of operations may seem counterintuitive to some, which can make it difficult to remember and apply correctly.

3. Can PEMDAS be applied in all mathematical and scientific equations?

Yes, PEMDAS can be applied in all mathematical and scientific equations. However, it's essential to note that PEMDAS is just one aspect of solving a math problem. Other mathematical principles, such as the distributive property and combining like terms, may also need to be applied depending on the equation.

4. What happens if PEMDAS is not followed correctly?

If PEMDAS is not followed correctly, it can lead to incorrect answers. This is because the order of operations determines the correct sequence in which mathematical operations should be performed. If the order is not followed, the answer will be incorrect. This is why it's crucial to understand and apply PEMDAS correctly.

5. Are there any tricks or mnemonics to help remember PEMDAS?

Yes, there are several tricks and mnemonics that can help remember PEMDAS. Some popular ones include "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" and "Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction." It's also helpful to practice solving mathematical expressions using PEMDAS regularly to improve understanding and retention of the concept.

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