2002 AMC 12B Problems/Problem 12

The following problem is from both the 2002 AMC 12B #12 and 2002 AMC 10B #16, so both problems redirect to this page.

Problem

For how many integers $n$ is $\dfrac n{20-n}$ the square of an integer?

$\mathrm{(A)}\ 1 \qquad\mathrm{(B)}\ 2 \qquad\mathrm{(C)}\ 3 \qquad\mathrm{(D)}\ 4 \qquad\mathrm{(E)}\ 10$

Solution

Solution 1

Let $x^2 = \frac{n}{20-n}$, with $x \ge 0$ (note that the solutions $x < 0$ do not give any additional solutions for $n$). Then rewriting, $n = \frac{20x^2}{x^2 + 1}$. Since $\text{gcd}(x^2, x^2 + 1) = 1$, it follows that $x^2 + 1$ divides $20$. Listing the factors of $20$, we find that $x = 0, 1, 2 , 3$ are the only $\boxed{\mathrm{(D)}\ 4}$ solutions (respectively yielding $n = 0, 10, 16, 18$).

Solution 2

For $n<0$ and $n>20$ the fraction is negative, for $n=20$ it is not defined, and for $n\in\{1,\dots,9\}$ it is between 0 and 1.

Thus we only need to examine $n=0$ and $n\in\{10,\dots,19\}$.

For $n=0$ and $n=10$ we obviously get the squares $0$ and $1$ respectively.

For prime $n$ the fraction will not be an integer, as the denominator will not contain the prime in the numerator.

This leaves $n\in\{12,14,15,16,18\}$, and a quick substitution shows that out of these only $n=16$ and $n=18$ yield a square. Therefore, there are only $\boxed{\mathrm{(D)}\ 4}$ solutions (respectively yielding $n = 0, 10, 16, 18$).


Solution 3

If $\frac{n}{20-n} = k^2 \ge 0$, then $n \ge 0$ and $20-n > 0$, otherwise $\frac{n}{20-n}$ will be negative. Thus $0 \le n \le 19$ and \[0 = \frac{0}{20-(0)} \le \frac{n}{20-n} \le \frac{19}{20-(19)} = 19\] Checking all $k$ for which $0 \le k^2 \le 19$, we have $0$, $1$, $2$, $3$ as the possibilities. $\boxed{(D)}$

~ Nafer

See also

2002 AMC 10B (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 15
Followed by
Problem 17
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
All AMC 10 Problems and Solutions
2002 AMC 12B (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 11
Followed by
Problem 13
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
All AMC 12 Problems and Solutions

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