Geronimo Cardano

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Cardano, Geronimo

 

(Girolamo Cardano; Hieronymus Cardanus). Born Sept. 24, 1501 (1506 by other accounts), in Pavia; died Sept. 21, 1576, in Rome. Italian philosopher, physician, and mathematician.

Cardano elaborated a cosmological system in De subtilitate rerum (1550) and De rerum varietate (1557) that was close to other formulations by the Renaissance natural philosophers (B. Telesio, G. Bruno). Although materialist features are noticeable—eternal matter is assumed to be the fundamental substance —a mystical Neoplatonism predominates. According to Cardano, the world is constructed out of three elements, earth, water, and air; matter has two properties, warmth and humidity. Fire is only a form of existence of the all-pervading and omnipresent celestial warmth, that is, of matter, which thus resembles the light of the Neoplatonists. The becoming of a thing is due to the world soul. The mind, identical in all men, is passive, and only a divine principle, which is placed in it, makes possible the knowledge of god in mystical exaltation. Cardano makes a distinction between the mind and the intellect, the active element of human consciousness; man understands the essence of things only where the object, as in mathematics, which is highest form of knowledge, is formed by the intellect and is assimilated to it.

Cardano’s natural philosophy is both the foundation and the final synthesis of his most diverse scholarly activity in astrology and alchemy, medicine and physics, mathematics, engineering, and psychology. His works played an important role in the development of algebra; he was one of the first in Europe to admit negative roots of equations. His name is linked with the formula for the solution of the reduced cubic equation (Cardano’s formula). Cardano also studied the transmission of motion and the theory of levers.

WORKS

Opera omnia, vols. 1–10. Lyon, 1663.
In Russian translation:
O moei zhizni. Moscow, 1938.

REFERENCES

Struik, D. J. Kratkii ocherk istorii matematiki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from German.)
Rivari, E. La mente di G. Cardano. Bologna, 1906.
Simili, A. G. Cardano nella luce e neWombra del suo tempo. Milan, 1941.
Bellini, A. G. Cardano e il suo tempo. Milan, 1947.

N. V. KOTRELEV

References in periodicals archive ?
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I go to great lengths to try to make accurate predictions, but I wouldn't go as far as Gerolamo Cardano, a famous 16th-century gambler.
El 17 de octubre de 2001 tuvo lugar una mesa redonda con el titulo "El concepto de Naturaleza en las obras de Nicolas de Cusa, Tycho Brahe y Gerolamo Cardano. A proposito de tres efemerides renacentistas".
Like the Milanese doctor Gerolamo Cardano, Glissenti shows the tremendous inroads humanist culture has made into the medical world by the late Renaissance (on Cardano, see McClure, 1991, 161-63; also cf.
Procedamos, a continuacion, a evocar al hombre de las invenciones --asi motejado per Andrea Alciato--: Gerolamo Cardano.
Gerolamo Cardano nacio en Pavia el 24 de septiembre de 1501, y murio en Roma el 21 de septiembre de 1576.