Lodovico Ferrari

Born: 2 Feb 1522 in Bologna, Papal States (now Italy)
Died: 5 Oct 1565 in Bologna, Papal States (now Italy)

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Ferrari discovered the solution of the quartic equation.
Ferrari was taken into Cardan's house as a servant at the age of 14. Cardan taught him Latin, Greek and mathematics. Ferrari became Cardan's personal secretary and four years later, in 1540, succeeded him as public lecturer on mathematics in Milan.

Ferrari solved the quartic equation in 1540 by a very beautiful method which was described in detail in Cardan's Ars Magna .

On August 10, 1548 Ferrari defended Cardan in a debate with Niccolo Tartaglia, even though Cardan had published Tartaglia's solution of the cubic equation after promising not to divulge the method of solution. This debate took place in Milan before a large and distinguished gathering and brought Ferrari public attention and gained for him a position as tax assessor in Mantua. Tartaglia on the other hand seems to have fared the worse, loosing his post in Brescia shortly afterwards.

In 1565 Ferrari became professor of mathematics at the University of Bologna.

Ferrari died in 1565. It is claimed that he died of white arsenic poisoning, administered by his own sister.

References (8 books/articles)

References elsewhere in this archive:

Tell me about Ferrari's work on cubic equations

Other Web sites:

Rice University, USA

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JOC/EFR December 1996