# Thread: For what values of a and b is the line 4x + y = b tangent to the parabola y = ax2 wh

1. ## For what values of a and b is the line 4x + y = b tangent to the parabola y = ax2 wh

__a=1/2
__b=-8
__a=-1/2
__b=8
__a=-20

2. Originally Posted by plstevens
__a=1/2
__b=-8
__a=-1/2
__b=8
__a=-20
what does wh in your question mean?

are the list of a's and b's you gave options to choose?

3. the wh, should be when x=4, and the a's and b's are th choices that i was given

4. Originally Posted by plstevens
the wh, should be when x=4, and the a's and b's are th choices that i was given
Well, given the parabola $y = ax^2$, what is the equation of the line tangent to it at x = 4?

The tangent line must pass through the point (4, 16a).

$y^{\prime} = 2ax$, so when x = 4 the slope of the tangent line is $2 \cdot a \cdot 4 = 8a$.

So the equation of the line that passes through the point (4, 16a) that has a slope of 8a is:
$y = mx + b$

$y = (8a)x + b$

Insert the point (4, 16a) to find b:
$16a = (8a)(4) + b$

$b = 16a - 32a = -16a$

So the tangent line is $y = (8a)x - (16a)$ or in the form given in the problem:
$-(8a)x + y = -16a$

Compare this with
$4x + y = b$

What are your values for a and b?

-Dan