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Gerolamo Cardano or Girolamo Cardano (1501 - 1576) was an Italian Renaissance
mathematician, physician, astrologer and gambler. He was born in Pavia, Italy,
the illegitimate child of Fazio Cardano, a mathematically gifted lawyer, who
was a friend of Leonardo da Vinci.
He is best known now for his work on algebra. He published the solutions to
the cubic equation and quartic equation in his 1545 book /Ars/Magna./ The
solution to one particular case of the cubic, EQN:x^3+ax=b (in modern notation),
was communicated to him by Niccolo Fontana Tartaglia (who later claimed that
Cardano had sworn not to reveal it, and engaged Cardano in a decade-long feud),
and the quartic equation 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
One of the Famous People on this site.