# A Rational Root of a Monic Polynomial with Integer Coefficients is an Integer ## Problem 489

Suppose that $\alpha$ is a rational root of a monic polynomial $f(x)$ in $\Z[x]$.
Prove that $\alpha$ is an integer. Add to solve later

## Proof.

Suppose that $\alpha=\frac{p}{q}$ is a rational number in lowest terms, that is, $p$ and $q$ are relatively prime integers.

Let
$f(x)=x^n+a_{n-1}x^{n-1}+\cdots+ a_1x+a_0$ be a monic polynomial in $\Z[x]$ and $\alpha$ is a root of $f(x)$.

Since $\alpha$ is a root of $f(x)$, we have
\begin{align*}
0&=f(\alpha)\\
&=\alpha^n+a_{n-1}\alpha^{n-1}+\cdots+ a_1\alpha+a_0\6pt] &=\frac{p^n}{q^n}+a_{n-1}\frac{p^{n-1}}{q^{n-1}}+\cdots+ a_1 \frac{p}{q}+a_0. \end{align*} Multiplying by q^n, we obtain \begin{align*} 0&=q^n f(\alpha)\\ &=p^n+a_{n-1}qp^{n-1}+\cdots+ a_1 q^{n-1}p+a_0q^n\\[6pt] &=p^n+q\left(\, a_{n-1}p^{n-1}+\cdots+ a_1 q^{n-2}p+a_0 q^{n-1} \,\right). \end{align*} Hence we have \[q\left(\, a_{n-1}p^{n-1}+\cdots+ a_1 q^{n-2}p+a_0 q^{n-1} \,\right)=-p^n, and this implies that $q$ divides $p^n$, and so $q$ divides $p$.

Since $p$ and $q$ are relatively primes, it yields that $q=1$.
Therefore, $\alpha=p/1=p$ is an integer. Add to solve later

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