2020 AMC 12B Problems/Problem 23


How many integers $n \geq 2$ are there such that whenever $z_1, z_2, ..., z_n$ are complex numbers such that

\[|z_1| = |z_2| = ... = |z_n| = 1 \text{    and    } z_1 + z_2 + ... + z_n = 0,\] then the numbers $z_1, z_2, ..., z_n$ are equally spaced on the unit circle in the complex plane?

$\textbf{(A)}\ 1 \qquad\textbf{(B)}\ 2 \qquad\textbf{(C)}\ 3 \qquad\textbf{(D)}\ 4 \qquad\textbf{(E)}\ 5$


For $n=2$, we see that if $z_{1}+z_{2}=0$, then $z_{1}=-z_{2}$, so they are evenly spaced along the unit circle.

For $n=3$, WLOG, we can set $z_{1}=1$. Notice that now Re$(z_{2}+z_{3})=-1$ and Im$\{z_{2}\}$ = $-$Im$\{z_{3}\}$. This forces $z_{2}$ and $z_{3}$ to be equal to $e^{i\frac{2\pi}{3}}$ and $e^{-i\frac{2\pi}{3}}$, meaning that all three are equally spaced along the unit circle.

We can now show that we can construct complex numbers when $n\geq 4$ that do not satisfy the conditions in the problem.

Suppose that the condition in the problem holds for some $n=k$. We can now add two points $z_{k+1}$ and $z_{k+2}$ anywhere on the unit circle such that $z_{k+1}=-z_{k+2}$, which will break the condition. Now that we have shown that $n=2$ and $n=3$ works, by this construction, any $n\geq 4$ does not work, making the answer $\boxed{\textbf{(B)} 2}$.

-Solution by Qqqwerw -Minor edit made by HappySharks

Video Solution by On The Spot STEM


See Also

2020 AMC 12B (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 22
Followed by
Problem 24
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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