Gerolamo Cardano

related topics
{son, year, death}
{math, number, function}
{disease, patient, cell}
{work, book, publish}
{style, bgcolor, rowspan}

Gerolamo (or Girolamo, or Geronimo) Cardano (French Jérôme Cardan; Latin Hieronymus Cardanus) (24 September 1501 – 21 September 1576) was an Italian Renaissance mathematician, physician, astrologer and gambler.

Contents

Early life and education

He was born in Pavia, Lombardy, the illegitimate child of Fazio Cardano, a mathematically gifted lawyer, who was a friend of Leonardo da Vinci. In his autobiography, Cardano claimed that his mother had attempted to abort him. Shortly before his birth, his mother had to move from Milan to Pavia to escape the plague; her three other children died from the disease.

In 1520, he entered the University of Pavia and later in Padua studied medicine. His eccentric and confrontational style did not earn him many friends and he had a difficult time finding work after his studies had ended. In 1525, Cardano repeatedly applied to the College of Physicians in Milan, but was not admitted owing to his reputation and illegitimate birth.

Eventually, he managed to develop a considerable reputation as a physician and his services were highly valued at the courts. He was the first to describe typhoid fever.

Mathematics

Today, he is best known for his achievements in algebra. He published the solutions to the cubic and quartic equations in his 1545 book Ars Magna. The solution to one particular case of the cubic, x3 + ax = b (in modern notation), was communicated to him by Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia (who later claimed that Cardano had sworn not to reveal it, and engaged Cardano in a decade-long fight), and the quartic was solved by Cardano's student Lodovico Ferrari. Both were acknowledged in the foreword of the book, as well as in several places within its body. In his exposition, he acknowledged the existence of what are now called imaginary numbers, although he did not understand their properties (Mathematical field theory was developed centuries later). In Opus novum de proportionibus he introduced the binomial coefficients and the binomial theorem.

Full article ▸

related documents
Alfonso IV of León
Robert of Courtenay
Ferdinand IV of Castile
Robert II of Scotland
Magda Gabor
Emperor Keitai
Lulach of Scotland
Isabella of Angoulême
Francis van Aarssens
Drusilla of Mauretania (born 5)
Joanna of Navarre
Ambika
Emperor Go-En'yū
Emperor Kōbun
Ivan II of Moscow
John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk
Dominic Mancini
Edward White Benson
Quartet in Autumn
Charles XV of Sweden
Leonard Huxley (writer)
Ottonian dynasty
Abu al-Fida
Frederick I of Prussia
Colin Maclaurin
Robert Curthose
Della Rovere family
Xerxes II of Persia
Antiochus I Soter
Charles Felix of Sardinia