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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine

 

 

 

 

1 article for "Cardano, Girolamo"

Cardano, Girolamo or Geronimo [Astro*Index]

(kahr-dah'noh)

(1501-1576) Italian mathematician and astrologer. Born at Pavia; died at Rome.

Illegitimate son of a mathematician. Early life was miserable. Initially denied admittance to the College of Physicians, but his demonstrated excellence eventually earned him that access. A conceited man, he was a gambler and cheat, and was given to violent outbursts of rage. But, in mathematics, his achievements were first-rate: He recognized the importance of negative numbers and imaginary numbers (i.e., complex numbers), and wrote a book on the mathematics of chance (drawing on his knowledge of gambling). He learned from Tartaglia the method of solving Cubic Equations, and published the method (now known as "Cardano's Rule"), in spite of his solemn promise to keep the method secret. Even though he gave Tartaglia credit, this act has left an indelible blot on his memory. His attempt to compute a `horoscope' of Jesus resulted in his imprisonment. A tale persists that he predicted, by astrological means, the day of his own death. When he found himself in good health on the appointed day, he committed suicide. [Wrote a commetary on Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos]

 

Astro*Index Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine