Problem #1995

 1995 There is a smallest positive real number $a$ such that there exists a positive real number $b$ such that all the roots of the polynomial $x^3-ax^2+bx-a$ are real. In fact, for this value of $a$ the value of $b$ is unique. What is the value of $b?$ $\textbf{(A)}\ 8\qquad\textbf{(B)}\ 9\qquad\textbf{(C)}\ 10\qquad\textbf{(D)}\ 11\qquad\textbf{(E)}\ 12$ This problem is copyrighted by the American Mathematics Competitions.
Note: you aren't logged in. If you log in, we'll keep a record of which problems you've solved.

• Reduce fractions to lowest terms and enter in the form 7/9.
• Numbers involving pi should be written as 7pi or 7pi/3 as appropriate.
• Square roots should be written as sqrt(3), 5sqrt(5), sqrt(3)/2, or 7sqrt(2)/3 as appropriate.
• Exponents should be entered in the form 10^10.
• If the problem is multiple choice, enter the appropriate (capital) letter.
• Enter points with parentheses, like so: (4,5)
• Complex numbers should be entered in rectangular form unless otherwise specified, like so: 3+4i. If there is no real component, enter only the imaginary component (i.e. 2i, NOT 0+2i).