# Can you divide by zero

## Why dividing by zero is undefined In mathematics, division by zero is division where the divisor (denominator) is zero. Such a . In keeping with this change of viewpoint, the question, "Why can't we divide by zero?", becomes "Why can't a rational number have a zero.

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The reason that the result of a division by zero is undefined is the fact that any attempt at a definition leads to a contradiction. To begin with, how do we define division? The ratio r of two numbers a and b :. That's a common way of putting things, but what's infinity? It is not a number! Why not?

So goes one of the great commandments of mathematics classrooms, a rule that must never be broken; otherwise, computers will crash and explode, black holes will spontaneously form, and the universe as we know it will come to an abrupt end. But rules are meant to be broken. What if I told you that, despite what you may have learned in school, you can divide by zero if you just think of it in the right way? And what if the answer you get not only had real-world significance, but could actually explain why other parts of math work the way they do? In which we actually literally divide by zero.

If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website. To log in and use all the features of Khan Academy, please enable JavaScript in your browser. Math Algebra I Algebra foundations Division by zero. Why dividing by zero is undefined. The problem with dividing zero by zero. Current timeTotal duration Video transcript Comedian Steven Wright-- and I guess we can credit him with being a bit of a philosopher-- once commented that "Black holes are where God divided by zero.

## Dividing by Zero

How to Divide by "Zero" - Infinite Series

## Division by zero

Math Dr. Math Home Why can't you divide by 0? Why is dividing by zero "illegal"? Here, in their own words, are some explanations by our 'math doctors'. Follow the links to read the full answers in the Dr. Math archives.

A nice charcoal-cooked one from New Haven , or an oven-hot Chicago deep-dish, or even one of those organic San Francisco artisan pies that somehow make artichoke hearts seem like they belong on a pizza. The smaller the slice you give to each person, the more people you can feed. Or, more abstractly: the smaller the number you divide by, the bigger the result. How many people can you feed? To divide is to break something into piles of a certain size. Her off-the-top-of-her-head answer was more concise than mine. In my defense, I get the dishes cleaner than she does.

In mathematics , division by zero is division where the divisor denominator is zero. In computing , a program error may result from an attempt to divide by zero. Depending on the programming environment and the type of number e. When division is explained at the elementary arithmetic level, it is often considered as splitting a set of objects into equal parts. As an example, consider having ten cookies, and these cookies are to be distributed equally to five people at a table. So, for dividing by zero, what is the number of cookies that each person receives when 10 cookies are evenly distributed amongst 0 people at a table? Forgot Password? Even if it's been decades since you've thought about math, you definitely remember this rule: You can't divide by zero. It's impossible.

## Why can’t you divide by zero?

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Why can't you divide by 0? Why is 0/0 "indeterminate" and 1/0 "undefined"? Why is dividing by zero "illegal"? Here, in their own words, are some explanations by.
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