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Girolamo Cardano. Coloured portrait of Girolamo Cardano (1501-76), Italian mathematician and physician. 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.
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