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Topic review (newest first)

2005-12-22 02:37:33

mathsyperson wrote:

So it was basically trial and error, then. If it wasn't factorisable, you would have been there for quite a while.

Sort of.  Since the coefficients are all low numbers, you know the factors have to be low as well.  So you can just try all the low integer factors -5 to 5 and see if they work.  If those don't, you can be reasonably sure the factors aren't integers.

2005-12-21 21:23:14

I was already there for quite a while. Must have spent and hour on the problem. lol.

2005-12-21 21:21:18

So it was basically trial and error, then. If it wasn't factorisable, you would have been there for quite a while.

2005-12-21 13:19:37

"Or did Ricky divide by it because we had already known the root?"

I played around with the numbers, trying different factors till I found (x-2) was one.  Took me about 10 minutes to do.

2005-12-21 13:14:46

Synthetic division is teh UBER roxxor! And very easy. I just got in from the cold and I can barely type. Later on when I'm comfy I'll write an explanation.

John E. Franklin
2005-12-21 09:59:57

Is there a method to finding the (x-2) factor of the cubic?
Or did Ricky divide by it because we had already known the root?
I'll have to learn what rational roots theorem and synthetic division is.

2005-12-20 23:44:38

Well, no one said math should be immediately apparent wink

If you don't want to try to factor, you could always try the cubic formula:

So you don't have to have a calculator, but it is much simpler if you do.  Isn't that why those were invented anyways?

2005-12-20 22:37:44

Ummm ... the question is the bold bit at the top.

Maths Brainiac
2005-12-20 22:31:21

What is the question coz i might able 2 do it?????????????

2005-12-20 17:20:30

Yep yep. But like I said, it is not imediatly apparent that it can be factored into that form. If it was, then we could solve the problem right away. It leaves no remainder and thus is a zero of the expression or function when the factor equals 0.

2005-12-20 16:47:04

2x^3 - x^2 - 12 = 0

This can be factored to:

(x-2)(2x^2+3x+6) = 0

So x=2 is the only real solution (show by using the quadratic formula).

x=2, y(2) = 8 - 4 - 8 + 4 = 0

So the point is (2, 0).

2005-12-20 14:04:18

I guess its just a genuine badass problem. I'll give it another shot.

(runs in the cage to take on the problem, and the ref shuts the door)


"ooooh... THAT ONE hurt him!" (mikau is carried out on a stretcher)


2005-12-20 12:00:37

Sorry, I can't think of anything. I thought I had something, but it turned out it was wrong. Then I thought I had another something, but that was wrong too.

I found out something quite weird though. I tried to find out if I could factorise it by doing long division by (x+a), where a is a constant. Then, I planned to look at the remainder and work out for which value of a that would be 0.

Guess what remainder I got. 2a³+a²-12. roll

2005-12-20 11:27:50

Let f be the function defined by f(x) = x^3 - x^2 -4x + 4. The point (a,b) is on the graph of f, and the line tangent to the graph at (a,b) passes through the point (0, -8), which is not on the graph of f. Find a and b.

Ok, the line tangent to the graph of f is the derivaitve of f.

f(x) = x^3 - x^2 -4x + 4

f'(x) = 3x^2 -2x - 4

f'(x) is merely the slope of the line. The equation of the line tangent to f is:

y = (3x^2 - 2x - 4)x + b     

NOTE! b is the y intercept, not the variable b in the problem. We were told that the line tangent to f at the point (a,b) passes through (0,-8). We have not found precisly what the slope is, but no matter what it is, it will have a value of zero at this point. Therefore:

-8 = (3(0^3) - 2(0) - 4)0 + b

thus b equals -8

So we have:

y = (3x^2 - 2x -4)x - 8

what this eqation represents is somewhat abstract. The graph of this equation and the graph of f will intersect at (a,b).


f(x) =   (3x^2 - 2x -4)x - 8

x^3 - x^2 -4x + 4 = 3x^3 - 2x^2 -4x - 8

-2x^3 + x^2 + 12 = 0

2x^3 - x^2 - 12 = 0

as far as I can tell this can be simplified no further.

Sure you can solve this using the rational roots theorem and or synthetic division. Or with a graphing calcuator. And the answer it yields is correct. x = 2, so a =2 and b = 0. But this was a somewhat inelligent method of solving the problem I think. I think there must be a simple way to solve it, one that does not end up in a third degree polynomial that cannot be reduced. I've never seen a problem in my mathbook that required the solving of a third degree polynomial and didn't say "use a graphing calculator as an aid for solving the problem".

So, any idea's?

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