Cardano, next to Vesalius the greatest physician of his day, was also a devoted and skilled gambler who played for personal pleasure and profit. His mathematical genius enabled him to devise simple rules of probability for his own benefit and for his gambling contemporaries. These he collected in his Book on Games of Chance and embellished them with essays on the tricks of cheats and kibitzers, as well as on psychological rules of play. In this biography of a stormy Renaissance personality, Cardano's gambling studies are deciphered for the first time, and a translation of the Book on Games of Chance is appended. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press.
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This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables. No man is utterly consistent. We are all a bundle of paradoxes with some degree of the Dr. Hyde polarities in our nature. Unrehearsed events at unexpected moments reveal character by behavior whose motives may have been hidden or repressed. Cardan was a person of distinguished accomplishments and strong traits of character.
He had contradictory attributes to a superlative degree, being a cornucopia of paradoxes. Such a description is the only one suitable for Cardan or Cardano who led a stormy life as a gambler, mathematician, scholar, polemicist, and inventor. One of the exuberant men of the Renaissance, he was the first mathematician ever to bring the problems of probability within the realm of exact mathematics rather than speculation, horoscopy, necromancy, and other aspects of magic and the supernatural.
He wrote more than books and probably burned at least as many more which never got printed. More writers. Bean WB. Cardano, the Gambling Scholar. Arch Intern Med. Coronavirus Resource Center. All Rights Reserved. Twitter Facebook Email. This Issue. William B.
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Cardano, the Gambling Scholar
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