2007 AIME II Problems/Problem 14
Let be a root of . Then we have ; since is a root, we have ; therefore is also a root. Thus, if is real and non-zero, , so has infinitely many roots. Since is a polynomial (thus of finite degree) and is nonzero, has no real roots.
Note that is not constant. We then find two complex roots: . We find that , and that . This means that . Thus, are roots of the polynomial, and so will be a factor of the polynomial. (Note: This requires the assumption that . Clearly, , because that would imply the existence of a real root.)
The polynomial is thus in the form of . Substituting into the given expression, we have
Thus either is 0 for any , or satisfies the same constraints as . Continuing, by infinite descent, for some .
Since for some , we have ; so .
Comment: The answer is clearly correct, but the proof has a gap, i.e. there is no reason that . Since has no real roots, the degree must be even. Consider . Then since is non-zero, . Now the function applied repeatedly from some real starting value of x becomes arbitrarily large, and the limit of as approaches infinity is 1, so =1 for all x, or . Then for some polynomial , and . Now suppose h has degree m. It is clearly monic. Assume that the next highest non-zero coefficient in h is k. Then, subtracting from both sides of the equation yields a polynomial equality with degree on the left and degree on the right, a contradiction. So , and .
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