# 2013 AIME II Problems/Problem 12

## Problem 12

Let $S$ be the set of all polynomials of the form $z^3 + az^2 + bz + c$, where $a$, $b$, and $c$ are integers. Find the number of polynomials in $S$ such that each of its roots $z$ satisfies either $|z| = 20$ or $|z| = 13$.

## Solution

Every cubic with real coefficients has to have either three real roots or one real and two nonreal roots which are conjugates. This follows from Vieta's formulas.

• Case 1: $f(z)=(z-r)(z-\omega)(z-\omega^*)$, where $r\in \mathbb{R}$, $\omega$ is nonreal, and $\omega^*$ is the complex conjugate of omega (note that we may assume that $\Im(\omega)>0$).

The real root $r$ must be one of $-20$, $20$, $-13$, or $13$. By Viète's formulas, $a=-(r+\omega+\omega^*)$, $b=|\omega|^2+r(\omega+\omega^*)$, and $c=-r|\omega|^2$. But $\omega+\omega^*=2\Re{(\omega)}$ (i.e., adding the conjugates cancels the imaginary part). Therefore, to make $a$ is an integer, $2\Re{(\omega)}$ must be an integer. Conversely, if $\omega+\omega^*=2\Re{(\omega)}$ is an integer, then $a,b,$ and $c$ are clearly integers. Therefore $2\Re{(\omega)}\in \mathbb{Z}$ is equivalent to the desired property. Let $\omega=\alpha+i\beta$.

• Subcase 1.1: $|\omega|=20$.

In this case, $\omega$ lies on a circle of radius $20$ in the complex plane. As $\omega$ is nonreal, we see that $\beta\ne 0$. Hence $-20<\Re{(\omega)}< 20$, or rather $-40<2\Re{(\omega)}< 40$. We count $79$ integers in this interval, each of which corresponds to a unique complex number on the circle of radius $20$ with positive imaginary part.

• Subcase 1.2: $|\omega|=13$.

In this case, $\omega$ lies on a circle of radius $13$ in the complex plane. As $\omega$ is nonreal, we see that $\beta\ne 0$. Hence $-13<\Re{(\omega)}< 13$, or rather $-26<2\Re{(\omega)}< 26$. We count $51$ integers in this interval, each of which corresponds to a unique complex number on the circle of radius $13$ with positive imaginary part.

Therefore, there are $79+51=130$ choices for $\omega$. We also have $4$ choices for $r$, hence there are $4\cdot 130=520$ total polynomials in this case.

• Case 2: $f(z)=(z-r_1)(z-r_2)(z-r_3)$, where $r_1,r_2,r_3$ are all real.

In this case, there are four possible real roots, namely $\pm 13, \pm20$. Let $p$ be the number of times that $13$ appears among $r_1,r_2,r_3$, and define $q,r,s$ similarly for $-13,20$, and $-20$, respectively. Then $p+q+r+s=3$ because there are three roots. We wish to find the number of ways to choose nonnegative integers $p,q,r,s$ that satisfy that equation. By balls and urns, these can be chosen in $\binom{6}{3}=20$ ways.

Therefore, there are a total of $520+20=\boxed{540}$ polynomials with the desired property.

## Solution Systematics

This combinatorics problem involves counting, and casework is most appropriate. There are two cases: either all three roots are real, or one is real and there are two imaginary roots.

Case 1: Three roots are of the set ${13, -13, 20, -20}$. By stars and bars, there is $\binom{6}{3}=20$ ways (3 bars between all four possibilities, and then 3 stars that represent the roots themselves).

Case 2: One real root: one of $13, -13, 20, -20$. Then two imaginary roots left; it is well known that because coefficients of the polynomial are integral (and thus not imaginary), these roots are conjugates. Therefore, either both roots have a norm (also called magnitude) of $20$ or $13$. Call the root $a+bi$, where $a$ is not the magnitude of the root; otherwise, it would be case 1. We need integral coefficients: expansion of $(x-(a+bi))(x-(a-bi))=-2ax+x^2+(a^2+b^2)$ tells us that we just need $2a$ to be integral, because $a^2+b^2$ IS the norm of the root! (Note that it is not necessary to multiply by the real root. That won't affect whether or not a coefficient is imaginary.) Therefore, when the norm is $20$, the $a$ term can range from $-19.5, -19, ...., 0, 0.5, ..., 19.5$ or $79$ solutions. When the norm is $13$, the $a$ term has $51$ possibilities from $-12.5, -12, ..., 12.5$. In total that's 130 total ways to choose the imaginary root. Now, multiply by the ways to choose the real root, $4$, and you get $520$ for this case.

And $520+20=540$ and we are done.

## See Also

 2013 AIME II (Problems • Answer Key • Resources) Preceded byProblem 11 Followed byProblem 13 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9 • 10 • 11 • 12 • 13 • 14 • 15 All AIME Problems and Solutions

The problems on this page are copyrighted by the Mathematical Association of America's American Mathematics Competitions.

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