Polynomials are expressions like $15x^3 - 14x^2 + 8$. Questions tagged with this concern common operations on polynomials, like adding, multiplying, polynomial long division, factoring and solving for roots.

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142
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18answers
15k views

Why can ALL quadratic equations be solved by the quadratic formula?

In algebra, all quadratic problems can be solved by using the quadratic formula. I read a couple of books, and they told me only HOW and WHEN to use this formula, but they don't tell me WHY I can use ...
137
votes
1answer
4k views

Rational roots of polynomials

Can one construct a sequence $(a_k)_{k\geqslant 0}$ of rational numbers such that, for every positive integer $n$ the polynomial $a_nX^n+a_{n-1}X^{n-1}+\cdots +a_0$ has exactly $n$ distinct rational ...
129
votes
3answers
4k views

A Topology such that the continuous functions are exactly the polynomials

I was wondering which fields $K$ can be equipped with a topology such that a function $f:K \to K$ is continuous if and only if it is a polynomial function $f(x)=a_nx^n+\cdots+a_0$. Obviously, the ...
90
votes
1answer
3k views

All polynomials with no natural roots and integer coefficients such that $\phi(n)|\phi(P(n))$

Let $P(x)$ be a polynomial with integer coefficients such that the equation $P(x)=0$ has no positive integer solutions. Find all polynomials $P(x)$ such that for all positive integers $n$ we have ...
75
votes
1answer
1k views

Is There An Injective Cubic Polynomial $\mathbb Z^2 \rightarrow \mathbb Z$?

Earlier, I was curious about whether a polynomial mapping $\mathbb Z^2\rightarrow\mathbb Z$ could be injective, and if so, what the minimum degree of such a polynomial could be. I've managed to ...
61
votes
3answers
1k views

A real number $x$ such that $x^n$ and $(x+1)^n$ are rational is itself rational

Let $x$ be a real number and let $n$ be a positive integer. It is known that both $x^n$ and $(x+1)^n$ are rational. Prove that $x$ is rational. What I have tried: Denote $x^n=r$ and $(x+1)^n=s$ ...
60
votes
5answers
2k views

Why are the solutions of polynomial equations so unconstrained over the quaternions?

An $n$th-degree polynomial has at most $n$ distinct zeroes in the complex numbers. But it may have an uncountable set of zeroes in the quaternions. For example, $x^2+1$ has two zeroes in $\mathbb ...
50
votes
7answers
9k views

Prove every odd integer is the difference of two squares

I know that I should use the definition of an odd integer ($2k+1$), but that's about it. Thanks in advance!
50
votes
11answers
79k views

Is there a general formula for solving 4th degree equations?

There is a general formula for solving quadratic equations, namely the Quadratic Formula. For third degree equations of the form $ax^3+bx^2+cx+d=0$, there is a set of thee equations: one for each ...
50
votes
5answers
1k views

Polynomials such that roots=coefficients

Here is my question : Are there monic polynomials with degree $\geq 5$ such that they have the same real all non zero roots and coefficients ? Mathematically, prove or disprove the existence ...
44
votes
16answers
72k views

What is a real world application of polynomial factoring?

The wife and I are sitting here on a Saturday night doing some algebra homework. We are factoring polynomials and we both had the same thought at the same time: when are we going to use this? I feel ...
42
votes
6answers
4k views

Continuity of the roots of a polynomial in terms of its coefficients

It's commonly stated that the roots of a polynomial are a continuous function of the coefficients. How is this statement formalized? I would assume it's by restricting to polynomials of a fixed ...
42
votes
4answers
1k views

AM-GM-HM Triplets

I want to understand what values can be simultaneously attained as the arithmetic (AM), geometric (GM), and harmonic (HM) means of finite sequences of positive real numbers. Precisely, for what points ...
41
votes
1answer
946 views

Is $1+x+\frac{x^2}2+\dots+\frac{x^n}{n!}$ irreducible?

The polynomial $f(x)=1+x+\frac{x^2}2+\dots+\frac{x^n}{n!}$ often appears in algebra textbooks as an illustration for using derivative to test for multiple roots. Recently, I stumbled upon Example ...
40
votes
2answers
2k views

Decomposing polynomials with integer coefficients

Can every quadratic with integer coefficients be written as a sum of two polynomials with integer roots? (Any constant $k \in \mathbb{Z}$, including $0$, is also allowed as a term for simplicity's ...
37
votes
5answers
519 views

If $f(x)=x^2-x-1$ and $f^n(x)=f(f(\cdots f(x)\cdots))$, find all $x$ for which $f^{3n}(x)$ converges.

Let $f:\mathbb{R}\to\mathbb{R}$ be the polynomial defined by $$f(x)=x^2-x-1$$ and let $$g_0(x)=f(x),\quad g_1(x)=f(f(x)),\quad\ldots\quad g_n(x)=f(f(f(\cdots f(x)\cdots)))$$ The positive root of ...
36
votes
2answers
863 views

Only 12 polynomials exist with given properties

Prove that there are only 12 polynomials that have all real roots and whose coefficients are $-1$ or $1$. Zero coefficients are not allowed, and constant polynomials do not count. Two of them ...
35
votes
3answers
6k views

The Stupid Computer Problem : can every polynomial be written with only one $x$?

When I was a child, I wanted to be a mathematician so I asked my parents to buy me a computer to make super complex calculations. Of course, they were not crazy enough to buy an expensive super ...
34
votes
7answers
3k views

Using Gröbner bases for solving polynomial equations

In my attempts to understand just how computer algebra systems "do things", I tried to dig around a bit on Gröbner bases, which are described almost everywhere as "a generalization of the Euclidean ...
34
votes
7answers
1k views

Appearance of Formal Derivative in Algebra

When studying polynomials, I know it is useful to introduce the concept of a formal derivative. For example, over a field, a polynomial has no repeated roots iff it and its formal derivative are ...
33
votes
3answers
3k views

Does multiplying polynomials ever decrease the number of terms?

Let $p$ and $q$ be polynomials (maybe in several variables, over a field), and suppose they have $m$ and $n$ non-zero terms respectively. We can assume $m\leq n$. Can it ever happen that the product ...
33
votes
2answers
415 views

Shortest irreducible polynomials over $\Bbb F_p$ of degree $n$

For any prime $p$, one can realize any finite field $\Bbb F_{p^n}$ as the quotient of the ring $\Bbb F_p[X]$ by the maximal ideal generated by an irreducible polynomial $f$ of degree $n$. By dividing ...
33
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does this distribution of polynomial roots resemble a collection of affine IFS fractals?

Consider the following spectacular image, created by Sam Derbyshire and described in John Baez's article "The Beauty of Roots": In this image are plotted all the complex roots of all polynomials of ...
32
votes
6answers
5k views

Proof the Fibonacci numbers are not a polynomial.

I was asked a while ago to prove there is no polynomial $P$ in $\mathbb R$ such that $P(i)=f_i$ for all $i\geq0$. I tried to get a proof as slick as possible and here's what I got. Let ...
32
votes
4answers
993 views

$p_n(x)=p_{n-1}(x)+p_{n-1}^{\prime}(x)$, then all the roots of $p_k(x)$ are real

$p_0(x)=a_mx^m+a_{m-1}x^{m-1}+\dotsb+a_1x+a_0(a_m,\dotsc,a_1,a_0\in\Bbb R)$ is a polynomial, and $$p_n(x)=p_{n-1}(x)+p_{n-1}^{\prime}(x),\qquad n=1,2,\dotsc$$ then, there exist $N\in\Bbb N$, such ...
31
votes
2answers
782 views

Are most rational quintics unsolvable?

It is well-known that, as polynomials of degree exceeding 4, there exist quintics whose roots cannot be solved for by radicals (Abel-Ruffini theorem). So we can divide the set of rational quintics ...
30
votes
2answers
656 views

On the inequality $ \int_{-\infty}^{+\infty}\frac{(p'(x))^2}{(p'(x))^2+(p(x))^2}\,dx \le n^{3/2}\pi.$

$ p(x)\in\mathbb{R[X]} $ is a polynomial of degree $n$ with no real roots. Show that: $$\int\limits_{-\infty}^{+\infty}\dfrac{(p'(x))^2}{(p'(x))^2+(p(x))^2}\,dx \leq n^{3/2}\pi.$$ It's easy to ...
29
votes
8answers
2k views

why is $\sum\limits_{k=1}^{n} k^m$ a polynomial with degree $m+1$ in $n$

why is $\sum\limits_{k=1}^{n} k^m$ a polynomial with degree $m+1$ in $n$? I know this is well-known. But how to prove it rigorously? Even mathematical induction does not seem so straight-forward. ...
28
votes
5answers
1k views

Conjecture: Every analytic function on the closed disk is conformally a polynomial.

Here is my conjecture, any proof, counter-example, or intuitions? If $f$ is analytic on $\text{cl}(\mathbb{D})$ (that is, analytic on some open set containing $\text{cl}(\mathbb{D})$), then there is ...
28
votes
1answer
559 views

Distribution of roots of complex polynomials

I generated random quadratic and cubic polynomials with coefficients in $\mathbb{C}$ uniformly distributed in the unit disk $|z| \le 1$. The distribution of the roots of 10000 of these polynomials are ...
27
votes
2answers
2k views

Polynomials irreducible over $\mathbb{Q}$ but reducible over $\mathbb{F}_p$ for every prime $p$

Let $f(x) \in \mathbb{Z}[x]$. If we reduce the coefficents of $f(x)$ modulo $p$, where $p$ is prime, we get a polynomial $f^*(x) \in \mathbb{F}_p[x]$. Then if $f^*(x)$ is irreducible and has the same ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

Factorize $(x+1)(x+2)(x+3)(x+6)- 3x^2$

I'm preparing for an exam and was solving a few sample questions when I got this question - Factorize : $$(x+1)(x+2)(x+3)(x+6)- 3x^2$$ I don't really know where to start, but I expanded everything to ...
26
votes
2answers
356 views

Generalisation of $(n+3)^2-(n+2)^2-(n+1)^2+n^2=4$

After seeing the neat little identity $(n+3)^2-(n+2)^2-(n+1)^2+n^2=4$ somewhere on MSE, I tried generalising this to higher consecutive powers in the form $\sum_{k=0}^a\epsilon_k(n+k)^p=C$, where $C$ ...
26
votes
4answers
483 views

Patterns of the zeros of the Faulhaber polynomials (modified)

Faulhaber polynomial of order $p \in \Bbb{N}$ is defined as the unique polynomial of degree $p+1$ satisfying $$ S_{p}(n) = \sum_{k=1}^{n} k^p $$ for $n = 1, 2, 3, \cdots$. For example, ...
25
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it possible for a quadratic equation to have one rational root and one irrational root?

Is it possible for a quadratic equation to have one rational root and one irrational root? Yes, a pretty straightforward question. Is it possible?
25
votes
6answers
2k views

Find all polynomials $P$ such that $P(x^2+1)=P(x)^2+1$

Find all polynomials $P$ such that $P(x^2+1)=P(x)^2+1$
25
votes
2answers
2k views

Is factoring polynomials as hard as factoring integers?

There seems to be a consensus that factorization of integers is hard (in some precise computational sense.) Is it known whether polynomial factorization is computationally easy or hard? One thing I ...
25
votes
3answers
903 views

Galois groups of polynomials and explicit equations for the roots

Lets say I have calculated the galois group of some polynomial and I also have the subgroup structure. What's an effective procedure to turn the group into equations for the actual roots of the ...
25
votes
2answers
771 views

Countability of the zero set of a real polynomial

This is the question from my calculus homework: Is it possible for a polynomial $f\colon\, \mathbb{R}^{n}\to \mathbb{R}$ to have a countable zero-set $f^{-1}(\{0\})$? (By countable I mean countably ...
24
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5answers
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How do I prove that $x^p-x+a$ is irreducible in a field with $p$ elements when $a\neq 0$?

How do I prove that $x^p-x+a$ is irreducible in a field with $p$ elements when $a\neq 0$? Right now I'm able to prove that it has no roots and that it is separable, but I have not a clue as to ...
24
votes
9answers
3k views

Is There A Polynomial That Has Infinitely Many Roots?

Is there a polynomial function $P(x)$ with real coefficients that has an infinite number of roots? What about if $P(x)$ is the null polynomial, $P(x)=0$ for all x?
24
votes
1answer
557 views

An awful identity

We take place on $\mathbb C(x_1,...,x_r,x'_1,...,x'_p,u_0,...,u_r,u'_0,...,u'_p)$ with $r,p\in \mathbb N$ Show that : $$\displaystyle{\sum_{i=1}^r \left( \frac{\prod_{j=0}^r (u_j-x_i) ...
24
votes
0answers
844 views

Is $ f_n=\frac{(x+1)^n-(x^n+1)}{x}$ irreducible over $\mathbf{Z}$ for arbitrary $n$?

In this document on page $3$ I found an interesting polynomial: $$f_n=\frac{(x+1)^n-(x^n+1)}{x}$$ Question is whether this polynomial is irreducible over $\mathbf{Q}$ for arbitrary $n \geq 1$ ? In ...
23
votes
2answers
6k views

Number of monic irreducible polynomials of degree $p$ over finite fields

Suppose $F$ is a field s.t $\left|F\right|=q$. Take $p$ to be some prime. How many monic irreducible polynomials of degree $p$ can exist over $F$? Thanks!
22
votes
2answers
559 views

How to show that a root of the equation $x (x+1)(x+2) … (x+2009) = c $ can have multiplicity at most 2?

How to show that a root of the equation $$x (x+1)(x+2) ....... (x+2009) = c $$ can have multiplicity at most 2 , and to find the value of $ c $ for which this is possible. I proceeded by using the ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is it so hard to find the roots of polynomial equations?

The question that follows was inspired by this question: When trying to solve for the roots of a polynomial equation, the quadratic formula is much more simple than the cubic formula and the cubic ...
21
votes
5answers
775 views

Solving a peculiar system of equations

I have the following system of equations where the $m$'s are known but $a, b, c, x, y, z$ are unknown. How does one go about solving this system? All the usual linear algebra tricks I know don't apply ...
21
votes
1answer
217 views

Solve $x^4+3x^3+6x+4=0$… easier way?

So I was playing around with solving polynomials last night and realized that I had no idea how to solve a polynomial with no rational roots, such as $$x^4+3x^3+6x+4=0$$ Using the rational roots test, ...
21
votes
0answers
634 views

On the problem of polynomial bijection from $\mathbb Q\times\mathbb Q$ to $\mathbb Q$

The question titled "Polynomial bijection from $\mathbb Q\times\mathbb Q$ to $\mathbb Q$" which was posed on MathOverflow attracted quite a lot of attention (and may be the question with most wrong ...
20
votes
2answers
494 views

Distance from $x^n$ to lesser polynomials

I am interested in the $L_1$ distance of $x^n$ to the $\mathbb R$-span of $\{1,x,\ldots,x^{n-1}\}$ over some interval. We can WLOG consider the interval $[0,1]$ (say) because scaling and shifting only ...