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Math Help - common root

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    common root

    For which values of b do the equations:

    x^3 + bx^2 + 2bx - 1 = 0 and x^2 + (b-1)x + b = 0

    have a common root?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Dinkydoe's Avatar
    Joined
    Dec 2009
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    I believe there's a little trick involved here:

    Let
    (1) x^3+bx^2+2bx-1=0
    (2) x^2+(b-1)x+b=0

    Observe that x=-1 is not a root of (2) for any choice of b. Hence this can not be a common root.
    So we may replace the problem of finding b such that (3),(4) have a common root

    (3) x^3+bx^2+2bx-1=0
    (4) (x+1)(x^2+(b-1)x+b)=0

    Then a common root of (3),(4) must also be a root of the difference of (3),(4)

    (3)-(4)= x^3+bx^2+2bx-1 - (x+1)(x^2+(b-1)x+b) = x-(1+b)

    This implies that x=1+b is the only possible common root they can have.

    substituting x= 1+b in (2) gives 2 possible values for b.
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