The concepts of Maths are utilised in almost every aspect of life. Whether it is a simple calculation of arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division or complex calculations like differentiation and integration, Mathematics plays a major role in everyday life. In this article, we are going to discuss ratios and proportions. How does this concept play an essential part of our regular life? Moreover, why do we need to learn it?

Ratios are applied to compare entities. They show us what quantity of one thing is related to another. For example, ratios can be used to match the number of girl babies to boy babies that were born in a day. If we have a total of six babies, in which two are girls and four are boys, then we can represent the ratio as 2:4 or 1:2. Now, if we want to compare the number of boy babies to girl babies, we need to write the number of boy babies at numerator and number of girl babies at denominator, i.e. 4:2 or 2:1.

Proportions are associated with ratios, which signify when two ratios are equal to each other. Let us understand it with the above example given for ratio. In our first ratio, girl babies to boy babies, 2:4 is a group of six babies. If we have another group which has a ratio of 4:8 of girl babies to boy babies, then both the groups are proportional to each other. Because if we simplify each of the ratios, then both are equal: 2/4 = 0.5 and 4/8 = 0.5. When two objects are proportional, then they are similar to each other. The only difference is in their sizes.

Sometimes, a whole portion of anything is represented using these two concepts, such as a quarter of pizza is 1/4th of pizza, half of the watermelon is ½ of watermelon, etc. This is called fraction. In the same way, there are a few more concepts related to ratios like multiplicative inverse or reciprocal, which denotes that if a number is multiplied by its own reciprocal then the resultant is unity. For example, ½ * 2 = 1. So, this multiplicative inverse here is also shown in the form of a ratio.