2007 iTest Problems/Problem 18

Revision as of 17:00, 10 June 2018 by Rockmanex3 (talk | contribs) (Solutions to Problem 18)

Problem

Suppose that $x^3+px^2+qx+r$ is a cubic with a double root at $a$ and another root at b, where $a$ and $b$ are real numbers. If $p=-6$ and $q=9$, what is $r$?

Solutions

Solution 1

By Vieta's Formulas, \[2a+b = 6\] \[2ab + a^2 = 9\] From the first equation, $b = -2a+6$. Substitute into the second equation to get \[-4a^2 + 12a + a^2 = 9\] \[-3a^2 + 12a - 9 = 0\] \[a^2 - 4a + 3 = 0\] Thus, $a = 3$ or $a = 1$. If $a = 3$, then $b = 0$, so by Vieta's Formulas, $r = 0$. If $a = 1$, then $b = 4$, so by Vieta's Formulas, $r = -4$. The answer is $\boxed{\textbf{(I)}}$.

Solution 2

The equation of the polynomial with double root $a$ and single root $b$ is \[(x-a)^2 (x-b)\] Expanding the polynomial results in \[(x^2 - 2ax + a^2)(x-b)\] \[x^3 - (2a+b)x^2 + (2ab+a^2)x - a^2b\] Since $p = -6$ and $q = 9$, we can write a system of equations. \[2a+b = 6\] \[2ab + a^2 = 9\] Solving for $a$ results in $a = 3$ or $a = 1$. If $a = 3$, then $b = 0$, so $r = 0$. If $a = 1$, then $b = 4$, so $r = -4$. Thus, the answer is $\boxed{\textbf{(I)}}$.

See Also

2007 iTest (Problems)
Preceded by:
Problem 17
Followed by:
Problem 19
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