# 2021 AMC 12A Problems/Problem 22

## Problem

Suppose that the roots of the polynomial $P(x)=x^3+ax^2+bx+c$ are $\cos \frac{2\pi}7,\cos \frac{4\pi}7,$ and $\cos \frac{6\pi}7$, where angles are in radians. What is $abc$?

$\textbf{(A) }-\frac{3}{49} \qquad \textbf{(B) }-\frac{1}{28} \qquad \textbf{(C) }\frac{^3\sqrt7}{64} \qquad \textbf{(D) }\frac{1}{32}\qquad \textbf{(E) }\frac{1}{28}$

## Solution 1

Part 1: solving for c

Notice that $\cos \frac{6\pi}7 = \cos \frac{8\pi}7$

$c$ is the negation of the product of roots by Vieta's formulas

$c = -\cos \frac{2\pi}7 \cos \frac{4\pi}7 \cos \frac{8\pi}7$

Multiply by $8 \sin{\frac{2\pi}{7}}$

$c 8 \sin{2\pi}7 = -8 \sin{\frac{2\pi}{7}} \cos \frac{2\pi}7 \cos \frac{4\pi}7 \cos \frac{8\pi}7$

Then use sine addition formula backwards:

$2 \sin \frac{2\pi}7 \cos \frac{2\pi}7 = \sin \frac{4\pi}7$

$c \cdot 8 \sin{\frac{2\pi}{7}} = -4 \sin \frac{4\pi}7 \cos \frac{4\pi}7 \cos \frac{8\pi}7$

$c \cdot 8 \sin{\frac{2\pi}{7}} = -2 \sin \frac{8\pi}7 \cos \frac{8\pi}7$

$c \cdot 8 \sin{\frac{2\pi}{7}} = -\sin \frac{16\pi}7$

$c \cdot 8 \sin{\frac{2\pi}{7}} = -\sin \frac{2\pi}7$

$c = -\frac{1}8$

Part 2: starting to solve for b

$b$ is the sum of roots two at a time by Vieta's

$b = \cos \frac{2\pi}7 \cos \frac{4\pi}7 + \cos \frac{2\pi}7 \cos \frac{6\pi}7 + \cos \frac{4\pi}7 \cos \frac{6\pi}7$

We know that $\cos \alpha \cos \beta = \frac{ \cos \left(\alpha + \beta\right) + \cos \left(\alpha - \beta\right) }{2}$

By plugging all the parts in we get:

$\frac{\cos \frac{6\pi}7 + \cos \frac{2\pi}7}2 + \frac{\cos \frac{4\pi}7 + \cos \frac{4\pi}7}2 + \frac{\cos \frac{6\pi}7 + \cos \frac{2\pi}7}2$

Which ends up being:

$\cos \frac{2\pi}7 + \cos \frac{4\pi}7 + \cos \frac{6\pi}7$

Which is shown in the next part to equal $-\frac{1}2$, so $b = -\frac{1}2$

Part 3: solving for a and b as the sum of roots

$a$ is the negation of the sum of roots

$a = - \left( \cos \frac{2\pi}7 + \cos \frac{4\pi}7 + \cos \frac{6\pi}7 \right)$

The real values of the 7th roots of unity are: $1, \cos \frac{2\pi}7, \cos \frac{4\pi}7, \cos \frac{6\pi}7, \cos \frac{8\pi}7, \cos \frac{10\pi}7, \cos \frac{12\pi}7$ and they sum to $0$.

If we subtract 1, and condense identical terms, we get:

$2\cos \frac{2\pi}7 + 2\cos \frac{4\pi}7 + 2\cos \frac{6\pi}7 = -1$

Therefore, we have $a = -\left(-\frac{1}2\right) = \frac{1}2$

Finally multiply $abc = \frac{1}2 * - \frac{1}2 * -\frac{1}8 = \frac{1}{32}$ or $\boxed{D) \frac{1}{32}}$.

~Tucker

## Solution 2 (Approximation)

Letting the roots be $p$, $q$, and $r$, Vietas gives \begin{align*}

   p + q + r &= a \\
pq + qr + pq &= -b \\
pqr &= c.


\end{align*} We use the Taylor series for $\cos x$, $$\cos x = \sum_{k = 0}^{\infty} (-1)^k \frac{x^{2k}}{(2k)!}$$ to approximate the roots. Taking the sum up to $k = 3$ yields a close approximation, so we have $$\cos\left(\frac{2\pi}{7}\right) \simeq 1-\frac{\left(\frac{2\pi}{7}\right)^{2}}{2}+\frac{\left(\frac{2\pi}{7}\right)^{4}}{24}-\frac{\left(\frac{2\pi}{7}\right)^{6}}{720} \simeq 0.623$$ $$\cos\left(\frac{4\pi}{7}\right) \simeq 1-\frac{\left(\frac{4\pi}{7}\right)^{2}}{2}+\frac{\left(\frac{4\pi}{7}\right)^{4}}{24}-\frac{\left(\frac{4\pi}{7}\right)^{6}}{720} \simeq -0.225$$ $$\cos\left(\frac{6\pi}{7}\right) \simeq 1-\frac{\left(\frac{6\pi}{7}\right)^{2}}{2}+\frac{\left(\frac{6\pi}{7}\right)^{4}}{24}-\frac{\left(\frac{6\pi}{7}\right)^{6}}{720} \simeq -0.964.$$

   Note that these approximations get worse as $x$ gets larger, but they will be fine for the purposes of this problem. We then have


\begin{align*}

   p + q + r &= a \simeq -0.56 \\
pq + qr + pr &= -b \simeq -0.524 \\
pqr &= c \simeq 0.135.


\end{align*} We further approximate these values to $a \simeq -0.5$, $b \simeq 0.5$, and $c \simeq 0.125$ (mostly as this is an AMC problem and will likely use nice fractions). Thus, we have $abc \simeq \boxed{\textbf{(D) } \frac{1}{32}}$. ~ciceronii

~ pi_is_3.14