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December 1961

Cardano, the Gambling Scholar

Arch Intern Med. 1961;108(6):974-975. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620120158044

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No man is utterly consistent. We are all a bundle of paradoxes with some degree of the Dr. Jekyl-Mr. 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 100 books and probably burned at least as many more which never got printed. More writers

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