People Are Blown Away By This Guy's Simple Explanation Of What The Division Sign Actually Represents

This makes so much sense.

Is this true? Well, the division symbol, officially known as an obelus, was originally used in medieval manuscripts to mark when the editor was unsure about a passage or quote.

Instagram: @eyedivision

The sign was first used to indicate division in mathematics in 1659 by Johann Heinrich Rahn, a Swedish mathematician, in his book, TeutscheAlgebr. He didn’t say if it was supposed to be a blank fraction when he used it.

Another fun fact: the obelus was also used at one point to indicate subtraction.

It is considered a pretty old-school way to indicate division, and most mathematicians nowadays use a / symbol instead.

Instagram: @daintydora

However, anecdotally, Dremali’s claim is correct. Steve Fearnley, a math teacher and author, wrote in the Oxford Press that teachers have used the “blank fraction” concept to help kids remember how to divide in classrooms.

“I had used this sign without question for 30 years before hearing a colleague, a chemistry teacher, telling a student about a fraction being a division ‘Remember the divide sign – the two dots stand for the two numbers. So ¾ means 3 ÷ 4, the dots stand for the 3 and the 4,'” he wrote. “A neat little idea for students faced with, for example, converting a fraction to a decimal.”

Instagram: @eyedivision

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