2015 AIME I Problems/Problem 3

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There is a prime number $p$ such that $16p+1$ is the cube of a positive integer. Find $p$.


Let the positive integer mentioned be $a$, so that $a^3 = 16p+1$. Note that $a$ must be odd, because $16p+1$ is odd.

Rearrange this expression and factor the left side (this factoring can be done using $(a^3-b^3) = (a-b)(a^2+a b+b^2)$ or synthetic divison once it is realized that $a = 1$ is a root):

\begin{align*} a^3-1 &= 16p\\ (a-1)(a^2+a+1) &= 16p\\ \end{align*}

Because $a$ is odd, $a-1$ is even and $a^2+a+1$ is odd. If $a^2+a+1$ is odd, $a-1$ must be some multiple of $16$. However, for $a-1$ to be any multiple of $16$ other than $16$ would mean $p$ is not a prime. Therefore, $a-1 = 16$ and $a = 17$.

Then our other factor, $a^2+a+1$, is the prime $p$:

\begin{align*} (a-1)(a^2+a+1) &= 16p\\ (17-1)(17^2+17+1) &=16p\\ p = 289+17+1 &= \boxed{307} \end{align*}

Another Solution

Since $16p+1$ is odd, let $16p+1 = (2a+1)^3$. Therefore, $16p+1 = (2a+1)^3 = 8a^3+12a^2+6a+1$. From this, we get $8p=a(4a^2+6a+3)$. We know $p$ is a prime number and it is not an even number. Since $4a^2+6a+3$ is an odd number, we know that $a=8$.

Therefore, $p=4a^2+6a+3=4*8^2+6*8+3=\boxed{307}$.

See also

2015 AIME I (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 2
Followed by
Problem 4
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All AIME Problems and Solutions

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