Why can’t you divide by zero? – TED-Ed

Why can’t you divide by zero? – TED-Ed

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In the world of math, many strange results are possible when we change the rules. But there’s one rule that most of us have been warned not to break: don’t divide by zero. How can the simple combination of an everyday number and a basic operation cause such problems?

Lesson by TED-Ed, animation by Nick Hilditch.

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94 Responses

  1. Timothy Kong says:

    This is quite helpful for my engineering maths

    • sgaxnikolaix661 says:

      Same fam… 4th year Mechanical Engineer with two minors in Renewable Energy and Mathematics

    • Half Man Half Ape says:

      Not sure if bait, but limits of functions that divide by 0 are used everywhere in calculus, explicitly or not.

    • Cinema Concept says:

      Boy if you study engineering and find this helpful, it means you have a long way to go. Good luck

    • Timothy Kong says:

      Capitao_Is _Life it doesn’t hahah, I’m struggling here. But it does help me understand more on the background of maths. Sorry for trolling.

  2. The Ace Of Spades says:

    I tried to divide by zero once

    Had to find another univerve soon after mine was destroyed

  3. Continual Improvement says:

    Segmentation fault.

  4. Software Man says:

    because there’s a fine line between a numerator and a denominator…

  5. Van Hendrix says:

    When you can divide nothing, you have a problem

    • 「Exvrn」 says:

      But what is nothing

    • Gama spy says:

      「Exvrn」 You’re nothing

    • Jason Hemperly says:

      Ħakito 7*0=0, dividing a number by infinity isn’t truly 0, but an infinitesimal, or a value so small it can’t be measured. On the other hand, dividing by an infintesimal would be infinity because it would be an extremely extremely small non-zero number.

      To clarify, no matter how large a number is even a sextillion digits long or more, dividing by it will never be equal to zero, and since infinity is a number at the end of an infinite list of numbers, dividing by it will never be zero. It’s impossible, we write it as zero because for all intents and purposes it is indistinguishable from zero, because it’s impossible to comprehend a decimal written as an infinite string of 0s followed by 1, or 0.000000…1.

    • diamond kane says:

      OK let’s make it simple you have let’s say 5 Candy’s you want to equally divided them to 0 people now how much a person get well he get error because there is no person

    • Kevin Hellalong says:

      diamond kane What’s 0 factorial or 0!?

  6. Jimmy George says:

    ‘0’ is my favourite number; because it has no value , just Like me.

    • Pixelsam 7 says:

      AbramAb MUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAA!

    • Flurry Heart says:

      Jimmy George
      It depends on what you understand as ‘value’. Because the concept of 0 had a ridicously important role in our history, from its role in ancient civilizations to our current world of computer technology.
      So stop understimating your own values, snowflake.
      (っ’-‘)╮=͟͟͞͞💖

    • diamond kane says:

      Well 0 is technically the biggest negative number which means your better than an infinite amount of people negative people

    • 76 says:

      Like a White Crayon

  7. Gavin says:

    Well, if you want the Universe to collapse upon itself, you can certainly divide by zero.

  8. Imaaa Jeff says:

    In soviet russia 0 divides you

  9. Science with Katie says:

    TED-Ed – giving answers to questions I didn’t even know I wanted answered! 💛

  10. Star Sage says:

    *WEAKENING OF REALITY INTENSIFIES*

  11. Description Untitled says:

    Idk, ask Siri.

    • Owen Langmead says:

      i asked siri and the answer was “undifined”

    • Joy I. says:

      Owen Langmead try asking her what is 0 divided by zero

    • Owen Langmead says:

      i did

    • David Reyes says:

      Description Untitled

      000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000

    • African Girl says:

      Description Untitled 😂🤣🤣😂🤣

  12. Excellent Leo Silinda says:

    I tried dividing by zero at home once

    Now I’m homeless

  13. Punocchio says:

    3:08 “Imagining that we know nothing about infinity already”
    But at 3:27 you suddenly know that inf+inf=inf. Not sure what to think about this.

    • Leo Montalban says:

      Punocchio
      ab + ab = b (a + a)
      That’s what he did.

    • J Chrîstian says:

      thanks

    • Half Man Half Ape says:

      But (1/0)^2 is 1^2/0^2 which is still 1/0.

    • Joel Costa says:

      Though he did use distributivity rules that he has only proved for all real numbers, not including infinity (at that point of the definition of infinity). The video has a good first half, explaining the actual definition of division, but then kinda drops the ball on the mathematical exactitude (e.g. the square root of -1 thing). Still for most people a good video I’d say.

    • Gius says:

      Joel Costa Distribuitivity rule is not proven, it’s an axiom of mathematics, used to define the multiplication and summation. In fact, all the 4 basic operations are defined by their properties (commutative, distributive etc.), and those properties are axiomatic, which means they are true by definition.

      Dividing by zero is not ruled out by mathematics, it’s just that, if you allow to divide by zero, it follows that all numbers are equal to zero. In fact, all the axioms of mathematics still work in that context, it’s just that this is not a really interesting scenario.

  14. yuranival says:

    That green-bearded man looked sad after hearing it was a story for another day. I would love to hear that story explained in such an affordable and picturesque way. Love your videos!!

  15. DanGun says:

    Imagine that you have zero cookies and you split them evenly among zero friends. How many cookies does each person get? See? It doesn’t make sense. And Cookie Monster is sad that there are no cookies, and you are sad that you have no friends

    • DanScott says:

      This is Siri answer if you ask it “what is 0 divided by 0”

    • Angel Capo says:

      But you can break a cookie into a million pieces to the point where you have an insignificant piece you cant enjoy 😛

    • Md Shariful Islam 1604064 says:

      Ok, lemme try to clear this up a bit.

      Let’s say we have to find the value of x where x=0/0.
      That means, x*0=0 ——(i)
      Now guess what should the value of x to keep the equation (i) true.

      The answer is… any number is possible because multiplying any number by zero results in zero.

      So, there is no definite or determined value of 0/0. That’s why this case is called indeterminate form.

      However… if you get an x/y term where both x and y tend to zero, then you might need to work on the expression to get the exact result and that’s why we have to solve the problems related to finding limits.

    • John Kevin Regodon says:

      Better than a ted ed explanations…

    • Nozim N says:

      This comment should have trigger warnings

  16. Roth Dara says:

    Just think what times zero is 10

    • ArtBook&Gaming says:

      10/0*0 is 10. The 0s cancel each other out, so simplify it and it’s just 10 = 10.

    • MUTAFUCA says:

      ∞ + 1 = ∞

    • Silis Alin says:

      MUTAFUCA infinity is not a number. You can’t add it up

    • Owen Langmead says:

      impossible, anything times 0 = 0

    • Skyler Harris says:

      Infinity isn’t a number. Another reason you can say it’s undefined is that 1/0 could be either infinity or negative infinity. Also, if you have something that seems to approach zero times infinity if two numbers get bigger or smaller, then it does approach something. Any number in fact. So things like 0*infinity and 0/0 and infinity/infinity can actually equal any number. It depends on how you approach it.

  17. Billy K says:

    Yes, and the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell

  18. Zuzu Cunt says:

    Your universe collapsed because you tried to divide 0 ÷ 0?

    Well Morty move to another universe because he wanted a girlfriend so don’t feel bad

  19. TED-Ed says:

    Thank you so much to everyone who has joined us over on patreon.com/teded! Your support is helping bring free educational materials to curious, life-long learners around the world!
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    • siddharth mohan says:

      In my mind, I say division is giving a fixed number of ice-cream to a fixed number of kids. If I have 10 ice-creams, and 5 kids I can give them to, how many ice-creams does one kid get? The answer is 10/5=2. However, if I have 10 ice-creams, but there aren’t any kids that I can give them to, how many does one kid get? Well, we can’t say zero OR 10, which means such an operation is undefined.

    • ykra reiH says:

      What about Lelouch? He got divided by Zero lol

    • Clayton Brasher says:

      If you divide by 0 it is 0 because say you have 10 cookies if you divided them between 2 people each person gets 5 well we all know that but if you have those 10 cookies to 0 people how many dose each person get well if you have no people to give them to then no one can take them there for each person gets 0 because know people can take them

  20. master mansson says:

    Cuz if we do it we become god

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