1989 AIME Problems/Problem 7

Problem

If the integer $k$ is added to each of the numbers $36$, $300$, and $596$, one obtains the squares of three consecutive terms of an arithmetic series. Find $k$.

Solution

Call the terms of the arithmetic progression $a,\ a + d,\ a + 2d$, making their squares $a^2,\ a^2 + 2ad + d^2,\ a^2 + 4ad + 4d^2$.

We know that $a^2 = 36 + k$ and $(a + d)^2 = 300 + k$, and subtracting these two we get $264 = 2ad + d^2$ (1). Similarly, using $(a + d)^2 = 300 + k$ and $(a + 2d)^2 = 596 + k$, subtraction yields $296 = 2ad + 3d^2$ (2).

Subtracting the first equation from the second, we get $2d^2 = 32$, so $d = 4$. Substituting backwards yields that $a = 31$ and $k = \boxed{925}$.

See also

1989 AIME (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 6
Followed by
Problem 8
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
All AIME Problems and Solutions

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