1984 USAMO Problems/Problem 1
Problem
In the polynomial , the product of of its roots is . Find .
Solution
Let the four roots be , so that . From here we show two methods; the second is more slick, but harder to see.
Solution #1
Using Vieta's formulas, we have:
$\begin{align*}a+b+c+d &= 18,\\ ab+ac+ad+bc+bd+cd &= k,\\ abc+abd+acd+bcd &=-200,\\ abcd &=-1984.\\ \end{align*}$ (Error compiling LaTeX. ! Package amsmath Error: \begin{align*} allowed only in paragraph mode.)
From the last of these equations, we see that . Thus, the second equation becomes , and so . The key insight is now to factor the left-hand side as a product of two binomials: , so that we now only need to determine and rather than all four of .
Let and . Plugging our known values for and into the third Vieta equation, , we have . Moreover, the first Vieta equation, , gives . Thus we have two linear equations in and , which we solve to obtain and .
Therefore, we have .
Solution #2 (sketch)
We start as before: and . We now observe that a and b must be the roots of a quadratic, , where r is a constant (secretly, r is just -(a+b)=-p from Solution #1). Similarly, c and d must be the roots of a quadratic .
Now
$<cmath> \begin{align*}x^4-18x^3+kx^2+200x-1984 &= (x^2+rx-32)(x^2+sx+62)\\ & = x^4+(r+s)x^3+(62-32+rs)x^2+(62s-32r)x-1984.\end{align*} </cmath>$ (Error compiling LaTeX. ! Package amsmath Error: \begin{align*} allowed only in paragraph mode.)
Equating the coefficients of and with their known values, we are left with essentially the same linear equations as in Solution #1, which we solve in the same way. Then we compute the coefficient of and get
See Also
1984 USAMO (Problems • Resources) | ||
Preceded by First Problem |
Followed by Problem 2 | |
1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 | ||
All USAMO Problems and Solutions |
The problems on this page are copyrighted by the Mathematical Association of America's American Mathematics Competitions.