2005 AIME I Problems/Problem 4
The director of a marching band wishes to place the members into a formation that includes all of them and has no unfilled positions. If they are arranged in a square formation, there are 5 members left over. The director realizes that if he arranges the group in a formation with 7 more rows than columns, there are no members left over. Find the maximum number of members this band can have.
If then and so . If is an integer there are no numbers which are 5 more than a perfect square strictly between and . Thus, if the number of columns is , the number of students is which must be 5 more than a perfect square, so . In fact, when we have , so this number works and no larger number can. Thus, the answer is 294.
Define the number of rows/columns of the square formation as , and the number of rows of the rectangular formation (so there are columns). Thus, . The quadratic formula yields . must be an integer, say . Then and . The factors of are ; is maximized for the first case. Thus, , and . The latter obviously can be discarded, so there are rows and columns, making the answer .
The number of members is for some and . Multiply both sides by and complete the square to get . Thus, we have . Since we want to maximize , set the first factor equal to and the second equal to . Solving gives , so the answer is .
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