08/11/03

Question

The sum of the squares of the first 15 positive integers (12 + 22 + 32 + . . . + 152) is equal to 1240. What is the sum of the squares of the second 15 positive integers (162 + 172 + 182 + . . . + 302) ?

(A) 2480

(B) 3490

(C) 6785

(D) 8215

(E) 9255

Answer

The key to solving this problem is to represent the sum of the squares of the second 15 integers as follows: (15 + 1)2 + (15 + 2)2 + (15 + 3)2 + . . . + (15 + 15)2.

Recall the popular quadratic form, (a + b)2 = a2 + 2ab + b2. Construct a table that uses this expansion to calculate each component of each term in the series as follows:

(a + b)2 a2 2ab b2

(15 + 1)2 225 2(15)1 =30 12

(15 + 2)2 225 2(15)2 =60 22

(15 + 3)2 225 2(15)3 =90 32

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(15 + 15)2 225 2(15)15 =450 152

TOTALS = 15(225)=3375 (30+450)/2 × 15 = 3600 1240

In order to calculate the desired sum, we can find the sum of each of the last 3 columns and then add these three subtotals together. Note that since each column follows a simple pattern, we do not have to fill in the whole table, but instead only need to calculate a few terms in order to determine the sums.

The column labeled a2 simply repeats 225 fifteen times; therefore, its sum is 15(225) = 3375.

The column labeled 2ab is an equally spaced series of positive numbers. Recall that the average of such a series is equal to the average of its highest and lowest values; thus, the average term in this series is (30 + 450) / 2 = 240. Since the sum of n numbers in an equally spaced series is simply n times the average of the series, the sum of this series is 15(240) = 3600.

The last column labeled b2 is the sum of the squares of the first 15 integers. This was given to us in the problem as 1240.

Finally, we sum the 3 column totals together to find the sum of the squares of the second 15 integers: 3375 + 3600 + 1240 = 8215. The correct answer choice is (D).

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