A mathematical problem

I’m sure you all have seen some version of this floating around the internet?


Well, I read that some time ago and actually took the trouble to add the numbers up. Low and behold, like magic…I discovered the answer of all answers.

Unlike my sister who after thinking about it a little realised it was a complete joke, I had to scroll down to look at comments made by smarter people than I to realise it was indeed a joke.

Anyways, I have a maths problem for you to solve, if you are willing. This is something that my sis noticed and she’s sure there’s a very simple and plausible explanation in the form of an equation to this. She’s stumped. I on the other hand being desperate for a 28th November blog post, decided to use this, as an appeal to anyone who can give me the answer to this question.

Here are the facts:

Scenario 1:

  • I was born in 1972.
  • My mum was born in 1938.
  • When I was 38 years old, my mum was 72.
  • So, I was running my mum’s year of birth, the age that she was running my year of birth.

Scenario 2:

  • My sister was born in 1975.
  • My mum was born in 1938.
  • When my sister was 38 years old, my mum was 75.
  • So, my sister was running my mum’s year of birth, the age that she was running my sister’s year of birth.
  • Ok, obviously..my sister is 3 years younger to me…hehe.

But…I want to know:

  1. Is that the same for you?
  2. If it is, how does one explain that as an equation?

Thank you!

NanoPoblano 2017

10 thoughts on “A mathematical problem

  1. Okay, here you go. I was born in 1962; my mom in 1931.

    1900+X (Momโ€™s year of birth) [My mom X = 31]

    1900+X+A (Your year of birth) [I was born 31 years after, so A = 31, X+A = 62]

    Year when you are X years old =

    [Me: 1900 + X + A + X = 1993, so Mom = (X + A) years old = 62]

    This should always work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Please don’t “hate” me…I tried it..and got lost half way…like I told Lori, I’m going to just enjoy not getting this one. Sometimes, there is no NEED to get everything..and that…is my lesson..hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think itโ€™s probably like the old system of how to check your subtraction answer. For example, if you do this: 45 – 13 = 32 … and then you want to check it, you ADD 13 + 32 and see if you get 45. In algebraic terms, itโ€™s x – y = z, therefore z + y = x. In my terms, 1949 – 1930 = 19; 19 + 1930 = 1949.
    Then throw in the current year to complicate the formula … I think. Wait. My head is about to explode!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it basically works out to be your birth year (72) + your mother’s birth year (38) (the year you would be the age of her birth year) will always equal your mother’s birth year (38) + your birth year (72) (the age she will be at your birth year).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lol Funnily enough I did actually enjoy algebra at school. It was one of the only practical applications of maths that intrigued me, solving formulas. I used to always get angry at comparing graphs and curves because I struggled to find a use for them in my everyday life. I find now that I pay most attention to maths if I’m trying to apply it to a real word situation involving money that is owed to myself (hello incentive!), any other time I look at it and my head hurts and I then prefer to use calculators ๐Ÿ™‚ I can see how this problem would make your head spin because even if you eventually solve it, all it proves is that our parents are older than ourselves and we too are getting older, so we might as well forget the formulas and keep enjoy ourselves ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

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