If you’re a math person, you’re a math person – and I don’t understand you, but I still support your love of solving difficult number puzzles.

The cool (?) thing about math is that there’s almost always one answer to every problem if you’re smart enough to solve it.

I say *almost* always, because sometimes controversial problems come up that stump even the smartest math lovers around – and this puzzle seems to be one of those times.

oomfies solve this pic.twitter.com/0RO5zTJjKk

— ❦ (@pjmdolI) July 28, 2019

It might look pretty simple at first glance, but the fact that many people seem to come up with different answers should be a good tipoff that everything is not as it seems…

Most people are confident that the answer is either 1 or 16, and they each have really good reasons for their guesses, too.

That said, they can’t both be right, so which is technically correct?

Just take a minute. pic.twitter.com/MAInghN0gY

— Nick Novak (@Mrnicknovak) July 31, 2019

The reason for the different answers seems to be that some of us learned to solve equations using the PEMDAS method (you solve in this order: Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction), while others learned using BODMAS (Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction).

People who use PEMDAS got 1 as an answer, but the BODMAS folks got 16.

So, does that mean both answers are correct?

In fact, it does.

It seems wrong, doesn’t it? Against the laws of the universe and nature somehow?

Well, you’ll have to square with it (and pat yourself on the back either way).

If you got the right answer (or the other right answer) you’re already more than a few steps ahead of me!