Another reason why you can't divide by zero


So, I recently wrote about why you can't divide by zero. In that post, I argued that dividing a number by zero breaks the rules of inverse functions. Of course that's not the only way to prove that the result of dividing a number by zero is not defined, so here's another.

If you approach the number zero from some arbitrary number as the divisor, you will find that the result is getting larger and larger: 1 / 1 = 1, 1 / 0.5 = 2, 1 / 0.1 = 10 and so on. If we keep dividing by smaller numbers, the result will get bigger and bigger. It's obvious that if we go all the way down to zero as the divisor, we will see infinity as the result, right? Well, no.

Let's flip this around and start from a negative number, going up towards the number zero: 1 / -1 = -1, 1 / -0.5 = -2, 1 / -0.1 = -10. As you can see, the numbers are getting smaller, the more we approach the number zero! This shows that the results differ if we change the perspective on the problem. The result cannot be defined.

After writing the first post on this topic, I honestly didn't realize how complex this seemingly simple problem is. I'm not a mathematician, but I'm starting to like maths. Fascinating stuff!

This is post 096 of #100DaysToOffload.

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