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Math Help - Sum and product of roots, this is so confusing!

  1. #1
    Junior Member PythagorasNeophyte's Avatar
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    Sum and product of roots, this is so confusing!

    Question:
    The roots of the equation 3x^2 - 3kx + k - 6 = 0 are \alpha and \beta. If \alpha^2 + \beta^2 = \dfrac{20}{3}, find the possible values of k .

    My workings:
    \alpha + \beta = \dfrac{-b}{a} = \dfrac{3k}{3} = k

    \alpha\beta = \dfrac{c}{a} = \dfrac{k-6}{3}

    Can anyone facilitate in solving this problem?
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  2. #2
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    Use the fact that the product of the roots is \frac{k-6}{3} and the sum of the roots is k (which you showed), together with (\alpha +\beta )^2 = \alpha^2 + 2\alpha \beta + \beta^2.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member PythagorasNeophyte's Avatar
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    Hello DrSteve:

    (\alpha +\beta )^2 = \alpha^2 + 2\alpha \beta + \beta^2

    k^2 = \alpha^2 + \beta^2 + 2\alpha\beta

    k^2 = (\alpha+\beta)(\alpha+\beta) + 2(\dfrac{k-6}{3})

    k^2 = k^2 + 2(\dfrac{k-6}{3})

    Is this correct?
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  4. #4
    Grand Panjandrum
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    Quote Originally Posted by PythagorasNeophyte View Post
    Hello DrSteve:

    (\alpha +\beta )^2 = \alpha^2 + 2\alpha \beta + \beta^2

    k^2 = \alpha^2 + \beta^2 + 2\alpha\beta

    k^2 = (\alpha+\beta)(\alpha+\beta) + 2(\dfrac{k-6}{3})

    k^2 = k^2 + 2(\dfrac{k-6}{3})

    Is this correct?
    You can check yourself: from that last equation solve for the numerical value of k, substitute back into the original equation and solve to find the roots and check that the sum of the squares of the roots is 20/3.

    And the answer is no, \alpha^2+\beta^2 \ne (\alpha+\beta)(\alpha+\beta), you are told:

    \alpha^2+\beta^2 = \frac{20}{3}

    CB
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PythagorasNeophyte View Post
    Hello DrSteve:

    (\alpha +\beta )^2 = \alpha^2 + 2\alpha \beta + \beta^2

    k^2 = \alpha^2 + \beta^2 + 2\alpha\beta


    k^2 = (\alpha+\beta)(\alpha+\beta) + 2(\dfrac{k-6}{3})

    k^2 = k^2 + 2(\dfrac{k-6}{3})

    Is this correct?
    You have an error. From your second step, just replace \alpha^2 +  \beta^2 by \frac{20}{3}

    k^2 = \frac{20}{3} + 2(\dfrac{k-6}{3})

    Edit: Just noticed that CaptainBlack already told you this - now you've heard it twice.
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  6. #6
    Grand Panjandrum
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrSteve View Post
    You have an error. From your second step, just replace \alpha^2 +  \beta^2 by \frac{20}{3}

    k^2 = \frac{20}{3} + 2(\dfrac{k-6}{3})

    Edit: Just noticed that CaptainBlack already told you this - now you've heard it twice.
    Once more and we all know its true

    CB
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