One of the important things you learn in maths is you cannot divide a number by 0. But, have you ever wondered about the reason why you cannot divide by 0.
Well, we are here to answer why you cannot divide by 0. Folks! There are four main reasons why you cannot divide by 0.
Let’s understand what division is
Mathematically, the division is the inverse of multiplication. This means:
8/4 = 2 or by rearranging you get 8 = 4 x 2.
History of Zero
Fun fact: The concept of zero was first started in India by a mathematician called Aryabhatta around the 5th century.
0 and its operations were first defined by Brahmagupta, an Indian astronomer and mathematician, in 628. He also defined the operation of division by zero.
But, it was in 830 AD where Mahavira, unsuccessfully corrected Brahmagupta’s mistake of division by zero stating that “A number remains unchanged when divided by zero.”
So, why is it that you cannot divide a number by 0?
Let us take the case of dividing by zero. Suppose the result of dividing 1 by zero is x, 1/0 = x.
Again by rearranging 0 x X = 8.
But anything multiplied by 0 is 0. So there is no number that satisfies the above equation.
Let us approach this problem in a different way. Suppose you have twelve beers and if you distribute them to a group of 4. Each one will receive 3 beers. If you have only three persons to share these beers, each one will receive 4 beers.
But consider the problem, if you have 0 people – how will you distribute these beers?
There are other reasons, why division by 0 is not allowed. If it is allowed
9 x 0 = 0
8 x 0 = 0
Therefore, 9 x 0 = 8 x 0.
Now by dividing both sides with zero we get, 9 x 0/0 = 8 x 0/0
Then 9 = 8, which is absurd and messes all the algebra and arithmetic we have learned.
Mathematics has to be exact. However, you cannot be sure of an exact answer if you allow division by zero. If dividing by zero is allowed, how do you evaluate 0/0? Is it 1 or is it 0? or is it infinity?
A Historical Accident
A division by 0 error on September 21, 1997, in “Remote Database Manager” that was aboard on the ship USS Yorktown caused the propulsion system of the ship to fail by bringing down all the machines on the network.
Can you add apples to oranges? No, right? Dividing a number by zero is also like that. It doesn’t provide any sense. Now you know why division by zero is not possible.
So, did we satisfy your curiosity? Let us know in the comments below.