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July 2014

Two Important Italian Scientists of the Renaissance and the First Book Ever Devoted to Nevi

Author Affiliations
  • 1Dermatology Unit, “Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico,” University of Milan, Milan, Italy
JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(7):737. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.553

Gerolamo Cardano (1501-1576) was an important figure in the medical world of the Renaissance: he wrote more than 200 works on medicine, mathematics, physics, philosophy, religion, and music.1

His gambling led him to formulate elementary rules in probability, making him one of the founders of the field. In 1520, he entered the University of Pavia, where he studied medicine. In 1525, Cardano repeatedly applied to the College of Physicians in Milan but was not admitted owing to his combative reputation and illegitimate birth. Eventually, he managed to develop a considerable reputation as a physician, and his services were highly valued at the royal courts. He was the first to describe typhoid fever, and in 1553 he cured the Scottish Archbishop of St Andrews of a disease that had left him speechless and was thought incurable.2

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