9
$\begingroup$

Assume that $a,b,c, \sqrt{a}+ \sqrt{b}+\sqrt{c} \in\mathbb Q$ are rational,prove $\sqrt{a},\sqrt{b},\sqrt{c} \in\mathbb Q$,are rational.

I know that can be proved, would like to know that there is no easier way

enter image description here

$\sqrt a + \sqrt b + \sqrt c = p \in \mathbb Q$,
$\sqrt a + \sqrt b = p- \sqrt c$,
$a+b+2\sqrt a \sqrt b = p^2+c-2p\sqrt c$,
$2\sqrt a\sqrt b=p^2+c-a-b-2p\sqrt c$,
$4ab=(p^2+c-a-b)+4p^2c-4p(p^2+c-a-b)\sqrt c$,
$\sqrt c=\frac{(p^2+c-a-b)+4p^c-4ab}{4p(p^2+c-a-b)}\in\mathbb Q$.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Looks good, the only thing that needs to be done is to mqke sure we are not dividing by $0$. $\endgroup$ – André Nicolas Apr 25 '12 at 1:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Exactly; how do you know $p^2+c-a-b\ne0$? Also, the line that starts $4ab=$ should have $(p^2+c-a-b)^2$ in it. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Apr 25 '12 at 1:42
6
$\begingroup$

[See here and here for an introduction to the proof. They are explicitly worked special cases]

As you surmised, induction works, employing our prior Lemma (case $\rm\:n = 2\:\!).\:$ Put $\rm\:K = \mathbb Q\:$ in

Theorem $\rm\ \sqrt{c_1}+\cdots+\!\sqrt{c_{n}} = k\in K\ \Rightarrow \sqrt{c_i}\in K\:$ for all $\rm i,\:$ if $\rm\: 0 < c_i\in K\:$ an ordered field.

Proof $\: $ By induction on $\rm n.$ Clear if $\rm\:n=1.$ It is true for $\rm\:n=2\:$ by said Lemma. Suppose that $\rm\: n>2.$ It suffices to show one of the square-roots is in $\rm K,\:$ since then the sum of all of the others is in $\rm K,\:$ so, by induction, all of the others are in $\rm K$.

Note that $\rm\:\sqrt{c_1}+\cdots+\sqrt{c_{n-1}}\: =\: k\! -\! \sqrt{c_n}\in K(\sqrt{c_n})\:$ so all $\,\rm\sqrt{c_i}\in K(\sqrt{c_n})\:$ by induction.

Therefore $\rm\ \sqrt{c_i} =\: a_i + b_i\sqrt{c_n}\:$ for some $\rm\:a_i,\:\!b_i\in K,\:$ for $\rm\:i=1,\ldots,n\!-\!1$.

Some $\rm\: b_i < 0\:$ $\Rightarrow$ $\rm\: a_i = \sqrt{c_i}-b_i\sqrt{c_n} = \sqrt{c_i}+\!\sqrt{b_i^2 c_n}\in K\:\Rightarrow \sqrt{c_i}\in K\:$ by Lemma $\rm(n=2).$

Else all $\rm b_i \ge 0.\:$ Let $\rm\: b = b_1\!+\cdots+b_{n-1} \ge 0,\:$ and let $\rm\: a = a_1\!+\cdots+a_{n-1}.\:$ Then
$$\rm \sqrt{c_1}+\cdots+\!\sqrt{c_{n}}\: =\: a+(b\!+\!1)\:\sqrt{c_n} = k\in K\:\Rightarrow\:\!\sqrt{c_n}= (k\!-\!a)/(b\!+\!1)\in K$$

Note $\rm\:b\ge0\:\Rightarrow b\!+\!1\ne 0.\:$ Hence, in either case, one of the square-roots is in $\rm K.\ \ $ QED

Remark $ $ Note that the proof depends crucially on the positivity of the square-root summands. Without such the proof fails, e.g. $\:\sqrt{2} + (-\sqrt{2})\in \mathbb Q\:$ but $\rm\:\sqrt{2}\not\in\mathbb Q.\:$ It is instructive to examine all of the spots where positivity is used in the proof (above and Lemma), e.g. to avoid dividing by $\,0$.

See also this post on linear independence of square-roots (Besicovic's theorem).

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ The current solution, I do not quite understand. I would like to see your simple proof of, thank you $\endgroup$ – tianzhidaosunyouyu Apr 26 '12 at 11:52
  • $\begingroup$ @pxc417 I added further details - see above. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 26 '12 at 23:31
5
$\begingroup$

Maybe not easier, but quite elegant :

Suppose that $a,b,c$ are all non zero. Let $K=\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt{a},\sqrt{b},\sqrt{c})$ and $n = [K: \mathbb{Q}]$. Then since $Tr_{K/\mathbb{Q}}(\sqrt{a}) = Tr_{\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt{a})/\mathbb{Q}} \circ Tr_{K/\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt{a})} (\sqrt{a})$, we have $$ Tr_{K/\mathbb{Q}}(\sqrt{a}) = \begin{cases} 0,& \text{if } \sqrt{a} \notin \mathbb{Q} \\ n\sqrt{a}, &\text{if } \sqrt{a} \in \mathbb{Q}, \end{cases}$$ and same for $\sqrt{b}$ and $\sqrt{c}$.

By hypothesis $\sqrt{a} + \sqrt{b} +\sqrt{c} \in \mathbb{Q}$, so $$ Tr_{K/\mathbb{Q}}(\sqrt{a}) + Tr_{K/\mathbb{Q}}(\sqrt{b}) + Tr_{K/\mathbb{Q}}(\sqrt{c}) = n\sqrt{a} + n \sqrt{b} + n \sqrt{c}.$$ It is easy to conclude that $\sqrt{a},\sqrt{b},\sqrt{c} \in \mathbb{Q}$.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.