Jump to navigation Jump to search “Cardanus” redirects here. Today, he is well known for his achievements in algebra. He was born in Pavia, Lombardy, the illegitimate child of Fazio Cardano, a mathematically gifted jurist, lawyer, and close personal friend of Leonardo da Vinci. After a depressing childhood, with frequent girolamo cardano liber de ludo aleae, including impotence, and the rough upbringing by his overbearing father, in 1520, Cardano entered the University of Pavia against his father’s wish, who wanted his son to undertake studies of law, but Girolamo felt more attracted to philosophy and science.
This section needs additional citations for verification. Cardano wanted to practice medicine in a large, rich city like Milan, but he was denied a license to practice, so he settled for the town of Saccolongo, where he practiced without a license. There, he married Lucia Banderini in 1531. With the help of a few noblemen, Cardano obtained a teaching position in mathematics in Milan. Having finally received his medical license, he practiced mathematics and medicine simultaneously, treating a few influential patients in the process.
Because of this, he became one of the most sought-after doctors in Milan. In fact, by 1536, he was able to quit his teaching position, although he was still interested in mathematics. Portrait of Cardano on display at the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews. Cardano was the first mathematician to make systematic use of numbers less than zero. Cardano was notoriously short of money and kept himself solvent by being an accomplished gambler and chess player. Cardano’s work with hypocycloids led him to the Cardan joint or gear mechanism, in which a pair of gears with the smaller being one-half the size of the larger gear is used converting rotational motion to linear motion with greater efficiency and precision than a Scotch yoke, for example. Cardano made several contributions to hydrodynamics and held that perpetual motion is impossible, except in celestial bodies.
He published two encyclopedias of natural science which contain a wide variety of inventions, facts, and occult superstitions. He also introduced the Cardan grille, a cryptographic writing tool, in 1550. Someone also assigned to Cardano the credit for the invention of the so-called Cardano’s Rings, also called Chinese Rings, but it is very probable that they predate Cardano. Significantly, in the history of education of the deaf, he said that deaf people were capable of using their minds, argued for the importance of teaching them, and was one of the first to state that deaf people could learn to read and write without learning how to speak first. Two of Cardano’s children—Giovanni and Aldo Battista—came to ignoble ends. Giovanni Battista, Cardano’s eldest and favorite son, was tried and beheaded in 1560 for poisoning his wife, after he discovered that their three children were not his. Cardano moved from Pavia to Bologna, in part because he believed that the decision to execute Giovanni was influenced by Gerolamo’s battles with the academic establishment in Pavia, and his colleagues’ jealousy at his scientific achievements and also because he was beset with allegations of sexual impropriety with his students.