Every quadratic polynomial has either 2 distinct real roots, one real root of multiplicity 2, or 2 complex roots. What cases can occur for a polynomial of degree 3? Give an example for each of these cases.
We know that there are 3 roots counted according to their multiplicity, and that complex roots show up in conjugate pairs. Thus, a little bit of puzzling reveals that there are four cases.
Three real roots, each of multiplicity 1; an example is the polynomial (x-1)(x-2)(x-3).
Case 2. One real root, one complex conjugate pair; an example is the polynomial .
Case 3. Two real roots, one of multiplicity 1, the other one of multiplicity 2; an example is .
Case 4. One real root of multiplicity 3; an example is .
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