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James Pringle

June 20, 2011

Abstract Algebra
Dummit and Foote
Third Edition

Section 13.1
Problems: 5, 6, 7, 8
[5] Suppose is a rational root of a monic polynomial in Z[x]. Prove that is an
integer.
Let = b/c, where b and c are coprime integers. Let be a root of p(x) =
xn + an1 xn1 + an2 xn2 + + a0 , a monic polynomial in Z[x]. By the Rational
Root Theorem, b divides the constant term, and c divides the coefficient of the
highest power term. Thus b | a0 and c | 1. It follows that c = 1 and = b, an
integer.

[6] Show that if is a root of an xn + an1 xn1 + + a1 x + a0 then an is a root of
the monic polynomial xn + an1 xn1 + an an2 xn2 + + ann2 a1 x + an1
n a0 .
Let be a root of p(x) = an xn + an1 xn1 + + a1 x + a0 . Let q(x) = xn +
an1 xn1 + an an2 xn2 + + ann2 a1 x + ann1 a0 . Calculating,
q(an ) = (an )n + an1 (an )n1 + an an2 (an )n2 + + ann2 a1 (an ) + an1
n a0
n1
n
n1
n1
n1
n2
n1
n1
= an an + an an1
+ an an2
+ + an a1 + an a0
n1
n
n1
n2
= an (an + an1
+ an2
+ + a1 + a0 )
n1
= an (p())
=0
Thus an is a root of q(x).

[7] Prove that x3 nx + 2 is irreducible for n 6= 1, 3, 5.


Let p(x) = x3 nx + 2. We show p(x) is irreducible in Q[x], assuming n Z for
n 6= 1, 3, 5. Since it is of degree 3, if p(x) were reducible, it would have a linear
factor. Hence, it is sufficient to show what values of n make p(x) have no roots in
Q. Suppose x were a root of p(x). By the Rational Root Theorem, x = b/c with
b = 2, 1 and c = 1. Thus x = 2, 1. Note p(1) = 3 n, which is equal to
0 only if n = 3. Similarly, p(1) = 1 + n = 0 only if n = 1, p(2) = 10 2n = 0
only if n = 5, and p(2) = 6 + 2n = 0 only if n = 3. Thus, if n 6= 1, 3, 5, then
x3 nx + 2 is irreducible.


James Pringle
June 20, 2011
[8] Prove that x5 ax 1 Z[x] is irreducible unless a = 0, 2, or 1. The first two
correspond to linear factors, the third corresponds to the factorization (x2 x +
1)(x3 + x2 1).
Let p(x) = x5 ax 1. First note that if a = 0, then p(x)l can be written as
(x 1)(x4 + x3 + x2 + x + 1), and if a = 2, then p(x) can be written as (x + 1)(x4
x3 +x2 x1). Now, suppose to the contrary, a 6= 0, 2, or 1 and p(x) is reducible.
Then either it has a linear factor or it is the product of a degree 2 polynomial and
a degree 3 polynomial.
Case 1: p(x) has a linear factor. By the Rational Root Theorem, the only possible
rootswhich correspond to linear factorsare 1. But, as confirmed by the above,
p(1) = a = 0 only if a = 0 and p(1) = a 2 = 0 only if a = 2. Thus we have a
contradiction, since we assumed a 6= 0 or 2.
Case 2: p(x) can be written as a product of two polynomials of degree greater than
1 (the complement of p(x) has a linear factor). Hence p(x) = (a0 + a1 x + a2 x2 +
a3 x3 )(b0 + b1 x + b2 x2 ) with coefficients in Z. Without loss of generality, we assume
that a3 is positive. Expanding, we have
x5 ax 1 = a0 b0 + (a1 b0 + a0 b1 )x + (a2 b0 + a1 b1 + a0 b2 )x2 +
(a3 b0 + a2 b1 + a1 b2 )x3 + (a3 b1 + a2 b2 )x4 + (a3 b2 )x5
By comparing coefficients, we have the following equations: (x0 ) a0 b0 = 1,
(x1 ) a1 b0 +a0 b1 = a, (x2 ) a2 b0 +a1 b1 +a0 b2 = 0, (x3 ) a3 b0 +a2 b1 +a1 b2 = 0,
(x4 ) a3 b1 + a2 b2 = 0, and (x5 ) a3 b2 = 1. Note a3 b2 = 1. Since we assumed
a3 = 1, it must be that b2 = 1 as well. Therefore (x4 ) implies b1 = a2 . Now, our
subcases are based on a0 b0 = 1.
Subcase 2.1: a0 = b0 = 1. Hence, by (x3 ), a1 = 1+b21 , and by (x2 ), b1 (a1 +1)+1 =
0. After substituting, we have b31 + 2b1 + 1 = 0. By the Rational Root Theorem,
the numerator p/q = b1 with p and q coprime has to be 1. Since b1 Z, q = 1.
However, b1 = 1 leads to b1 = 1 4 = 0 and b1 = 1 2 = 0. This is a
contradiction, since we assumed that p(x) was reducible.
Subcase 2.2: a0 = b0 = 1. By (x3 ), a1 = b21 1, and by (x2 ), b1 + a1 b1 1 = 0.
After substituting, we have b31 2b1 1 = 0. By the Rational Root Theorem and the
reasoning from subcase 2.1, the only possible solutions are b1 = 1. Only b1 = 1
is valid, so by the preceding equations, we now know a2 = 1 and a1 = 0. This leads
to p(x) = (1 + x2 + x3 )(1 x + x2 ) = x5 + x 1. Hence a = 1, a contradiction,
since we assumed a 6= 0, 2, or 1.
We therefore reject the hypothesis of case 2. In total, we reject the overall hypothesis
and conclude x5 ax 1 is irreducible unless a = 0, 2, or 1.