complex, rational and real roots
The quintic function should have 5 roots.
The changes of sign (through Descartes) tell us the maximum number of positive roots. Since there are two changes of sign there is a maximum of 2 positive roots. To find the number of negative roots we negate the terms with odd powers and check for sign changes: that means that there is at most one negative root, because there's only one sign change between the first and second terms. Complex roots always come in matching or complementary pairs, so that means in this case 2 or 4.
Put x=-1: function is positive; for x=-2 function is negative, so there is a real root between -1 and -2, because the x axis must be intercepted between -1 and -2. This fulfils the maximum for negative roots. That leaves 4 more roots. They could be all complex; there could be two complex and two positive roots. Therefore there are at least two complex roots.
To go deeper we can look at calculus and a graph of the function:
The gradient of the function is 10x^4-5. When this is zero there is a turning point: x^4=1/2. If we differentiate again we get 40x^3. When x is negative this value is negative so the turning point is a maximum when we take the negative fourth root of 1/2; at the positive fourth root of 1/2 the turning point is a minimum, and these are irrational numbers. The value of the function at these turning points is positive. The fourth root of 1/2 is about 0.84. and once the graph has crossed the x axis between -1 and -2, it stays positive, so all other roots must be complex.
The function is 12 when x=0, so we can now see the behaviour: from negative values of x, the function intersects the x axis between -1 and -2 (real root); at x=4th root of 1/2 (-0.84) it reaches a local maximum, intercepts the vertical axis at 12 until it reaches 4th root of 1/2 (0.84) and a local minimum, after which it ascends rapidly at a steep gradient.
[Incidentally, one way to find the real root is to rearrange the equation:
We can now use an iterative process to find x. We start with x=0, so x0, the first approximation of the solution, is the fifth root of 6 negated=-1.430969 approx. To find the next solution x1, we put x=x0 and repeat the process to get -1.571266. We keep repeating the process until we get the accuracy we need, or the calculator reaches a fixed value. After just a few iterations, my calculator gave me -1.583590704.] Read More: ...