Session 8: Roxana Sadvokassova

– “You can’t divide on 0.”

– But why? – “ It’s impossible”

– BUT WHY??

As a child and a teenager in school I would get confused with such explanations given by math teachers, and pissed – i just couldn’t understand it. As a 27 years old “adult” i stumbled upon a trustworthy mathforum* where all answering people add “Dr./Doctor” to their names:

Doctor Pete: Division by 0 is not so much a phenomenon as it is a supposed construction, which is provably contradictory to a given set of rules and therefore not permitted within the system upon which the rules are imposed. You can try to make up a good set of rules, but it always leads to nonsense, so to avoid all the trouble we just say that it doesn’t make sense to divide by zero.

Dr. Ethan: “Well, the answer is… there is no answer! That is why mathematicians refer to numbers that are divided by 0 as “undefined.” Some people tend to think of them as being infinite, but this isn’t exactly true. There simply is no answer.”

Doctor Robert: “Division by zero is an operation for which you cannot find an answer, so it is disallowed.”

Dr. Tom: “What happens if you add apples to oranges? It just doesn’t make sense, so the easiest thing is just to say that it doesn’t make sense, or, as a mathematician would say, “it is undefined.” Maybe that’s the best way to look at it. When, in mathematics, you see a statement like “operation XYZ is undefined”, you should translate it in your head to “operation XYZ doesn’t make sense.””

So basically, the equation doesn’t make sense.

And the past few months I’ve felt like the whole world got divided on 0.

And this show is my cowardly attempt to laugh it off by unleashing a small dosed portion of refined madness.

And i know you are not supposed to start a sentence with “and”, but to hell with it because the world keeps dividing on 0, AND it has always been doing that.

*The fucking mathforum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/faq.divideby0.html