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In algebra, the rational root theorem (or 'rational root test' to find the zeros) states a constraint on solutions (or roots) to the polynomial equation## External links

- $a\_nx^n+a\_\{n-1\}x^\{n-1\}+cdots+a\_0\; =\; 0,!$

with integer coefficients.

Let a_{0} and a_{n} be nonzero.
Then each rational solution x
can be written in the form x = p/q for p and q satisfying two properties:

- p is an integer factor of the constant term a
_{0}, and - q is an integer factor of the leading coefficient a
_{n}.

Thus, a list of possible rational roots of the equation can be derived using the formula $x\; =\; pm\; frac\{p\}\{q\}$.

For example, every rational solution of the equation

- $3x^3\; -\; 5x^2\; +\; 5x\; -\; 2\; =\; 0,!$

- ± $tfrac\{1,2\}\{1,3\},,$

which gives the list of possible answers:

- $1,\; -1,\; 2,\; -2,\; frac\{1\}\{3\},\; -frac\{1\}\{3\},\; frac\{2\}\{3\},\; -frac\{2\}\{3\},.$

These root candidates can be tested, for example using the Horner scheme. In this particular case there is exactly one rational root.

If a root r_{1}
is found, the Horner scheme will also yield a polynomial of degree n − 1 whose roots, together with r_{1}, are exactly the roots of the original polynomial.

It may also be the case that none of the candidates is a solution; in this case the equation has no rational solution. The fundamental theorem of algebra states that any polynomial with integer (or real, or even complex) coefficients must have at least one root in the set of complex numbers. Any polynomial of odd degree (degree being n in the example above) with real coefficients must have a root in the set of real numbers.

If the equation lacks a constant term a_{0}, then 0 is one of the rational roots of the equation.

The theorem is a special case (for a single linear factor) of Gauss's lemma on the factorization of polynomials.

The integral root theorem is a special case of the rational root theorem if the leading coefficient a_{n}=1.

- Another proof that n
^{th}roots of integers are irrational, except for perfect nth powers by Scott E. Brodie

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Last updated on Sunday September 28, 2008 at 12:47:31 PDT (GMT -0700)

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Last updated on Sunday September 28, 2008 at 12:47:31 PDT (GMT -0700)

View this article at Wikipedia.org - Edit this article at Wikipedia.org - Donate to the Wikimedia Foundation

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