Gerolamo Cardano, Italian mathematician

Gerolamo Cardano, Italian mathematician

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gerolamo Cardano (1501-1576), Italian mathematician and physician, with a book and mathematical tools. Also known as Jerome Cardan, Cardano was the illegitimate son of a Milanese lawyer, and his birth held back his career as a talented physician. He is best known, however, as one of the greatest algebraists of his time. He recognised both negative and complex roots of equations, and gave a general algebraic method for solving cubic equations (Cardano's solution). He was accused of plagiarism by Tartaglia, but such claims have been contested. He was also a major figure in chemical thought. Engraving from the 1875 edition of Vies des Savants Illustres.

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