## Where does p = 5 (mod 8) solve x^2 = a?

The problem is actually slightly simpler than that, but I couldn't fit it all into the topic title.

Let p be a prime satisfying p = 5 (mod 8) and suppose that 'a' is a quadratic residue modulo p. I need to show that one of the values:

x = a^(p+3)/8 or x = 2a*(4a)^(p-5)/8

is a solution to the congruence x^2 = a (mod p).

I really have no idea how to even start this. If it was just a single case, I think I would be able to make some progress, but since I have to prove that one or the other works (depending on the situation), I'm totally lost. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
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 Hi, squire, if I understood the question correctly, note that it is *not* about finding values of x and a that satisfy one of the solutions together with x^2≡a (actually, x≡a≡0 will satisfy both solutions). It is about choosing the one of the two solutions that makes x^2≡a always true for *all* values of x,a (and p) that satisfy the solution. So you're looking for a single counterexample that invalidates one of the solutions. You may try substituting x^2 for a on both proposed solutions, and then seeing if some value of x does not work for some p. Also, I don't think the question is about one of the expressions being "the one and only form" of the solution of x^2≡a. It only asks for one of the expressions to be *a* possible solution (there may be other forms that can be solutions -- but the *other* expression, the one of the two that you don't choose, must clearly fail).
 Well parts (b) and (c) of this question ask me to find a numerical solution for a particular case. For (b), one of the options provides a correct solution, but for (c) the other option provides a correct solution. So I think each one works for different cases. I'm not sure if what I said was clear, so let me know if you need me to clarify.

Recognitions:
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## Where does p = 5 (mod 8) solve x^2 = a?

Hint: Because a is a quad residue mod p, Euler's criterion tells us that ##a^{\frac{p-1}{2}} \equiv 1 \pmod{p}##.

 Quote by squire636 The problem is actually slightly simpler than that, but I couldn't fit it all into the topic title. Let p be a prime satisfying p = 5 (mod 8) and suppose that 'a' is a quadratic residue modulo p. I need to show that one of the values: x = a^(p+3)/8 or x = 2a*(4a)^(p-5)/8 is a solution to the congruence x^2 = a (mod p). I really have no idea how to even start this. If it was just a single case, I think I would be able to make some progress, but since I have to prove that one or the other works (depending on the situation), I'm totally lost. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

Let's see if I got this right. We operate all the time modulo p, and let $p=5+8\cdot k$ be a prime number and we assume $a\neq 0$:

suppose $x=a^{\frac{p+3}{8}}=a^{k+1}\Longrightarrow a=x^2=a^{2(k+1)}\Longrightarrow a^{2k+1}=1\Longrightarrow \,$ the order of a in the

multiplicative group $\left(Z/pZ\right)^{*}$ is a divisor of 2k + 1 (please do note that always $(2k+1)|(p-1)$ )....and so we suspect that when the order of a

is greater than 2k + 1 then it is the second formula that works (since then the first one cannot possibly work, of course).

But, in fact, $p-1=5+8\cdot k -1 = 4(2k+1)\Longrightarrow$ , and since it is always true that $y\in\left(Z/pZ\right)^*$ is a quad. res. $\,\Longleftrightarrow 1=y^{\frac{p-1}{2}}$ , then

$1=a^{\frac{p-1}{2}}=a^{2(2k+1)}\Longrightarrow\,\,$ the order of a is $2(2k+1)$ as expected, since it cannot be $4(2k + 1)=p-1\,\,$ (why?).

Hope the above helps.

DonAntonio
 Got it, thanks so much!