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Pure Maths – or Pure Fiction?

Posted by cotojo on August 14, 2007

Ok, after reading Winston Fong over at eatyourmaths  it brought back memories of my old maths teacher.  He wasn’t just a teacher, he was a mathematical genius and would often have us completely bewildered!!

There was one gem that he did produce and it took us forever to get our heads around it at the time.

Homer Maths

So, for all you mathematical stars, here is what he presented us with:

Can you prove that 2 = 1?

Assume that x = y

It follows that x – y = 0

And that 2x – 2y = 0

Therfore, x – y = 2x – 2y.

Now, another way of writing 2x – 2y, as any mathematician will agree, is 2(x – y)

And another way of writing x – y is 1(x – y)

So…1(x – y) = 2(x – y)

Divide each side of the equation by (x – y) and you are left with…..1 = 2

Now you can go and scratch your heads as I did many years ago. 

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14 Responses to “Pure Maths – or Pure Fiction?”

  1. cotojo said

    Sandy – Thanks for the comment. It seems that many remember their algebra teachers lol, and if they were like mine they all spoke in monotone….enough to send you to sleep hahaha

  2. Hmmmm….Brings to mind my algebra teachers. One always pointed with a finger that was missing most of itself. He was a horrifying little stooped mafiosi. I learned nothing but slipped out the back door to a lesser math class for the semester…right into the clutches of the fattest man in the world, who happened to be another gangster and who promised to roll all over us if we didn’t snap to and learn it all when he talked in slow motion. I like this post, and if I find out these guys aren’t dead, I’ll send it along to them. Thanks for a fun moment!

  3. cotojo said

    Cyril – Many thanks for passing by and commenting.

    Regarding missing Maddie, I started with a small post, but as time went on the incoming searches showed that people were looking for more information and I got side tracked into posting more about the ongoing situation.

    Sadly there are many missing children and I have also put a link to the channel that YouTube donated to create more awareness of their plight.

  4. cdason said

    hmm.. nice blogs.. noticed your blogs cover alot on the missing girl..

    anywhere, i like how you put things in this mathematical problem… hehe

  5. cotojo said

    Winston – little bit of fun goes a long way, will be over to your blog later and read a bit and comment lol.

  6. John,FANTASTIC! I smelt a rat when u divided by that x-y, that i used a number like 2 to test out, but i forgot it is 0! I’m sorry,and thank you John and Colin for this great post!

    Hope you can drop over at my Eatyourmaths to leave your valuable comments too 🙂

  7. cotojo said

    John – Thank you, spot on :o)

    Any number multiplied by zero equals zero, so all it effectively proves is that x – y = 2x – 2y which is 0 = 0.

    As the title suggests, Maths or Fiction? It is but a bit of fun lol

    Thanks for passing by and leaving your comment.

  8. John said

    Actually when you divide both sides of equation by (x-y)you are trying to divide by 0 (since x=y) which is not allowed in algebra. This step violates the fundamental rules of algebra and thus puts a BIG dent in your story here 😛

  9. cotojo said

    Winston – I’ll post the solution tomorrow lol, it’s much simpler than it seems!!

  10. In fact, I love it.Seen it somewhere before…Interesting yet I can’t disprove it,i’m not good enough then 😦 LOL.Great finding.

  11. cotojo said

    Lisa – I loved Algebra too, but my Maths teacher was quite an antique, where we used log books and slide rules he was doing it all in his head…he used to help to assemble the University papers in Advanced Mathematics.

    He was nothing like Homer, no hair, no smile, always a deadpan face, but he sure could teach.

  12. Sophiagurl said

    i loved Algebra when I was in school =) LOL. Chemistry and all the subjects with “ology” in the end. so did your teacher looked anything like Homer?

  13. cotojo said

    Winston – You like that one then lol

  14. Haha 🙂

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