General Knowledge Trivia Quiz
Girolamo Cardano, the great 16th-century mathematician, physician, astrologer and scholar who founded probability theory, led a colorful and controversial life that included time spent in prison for the crime of…
Your answer — B) Employing the square roots of negative numbers — was incorrect.
Cardano’s undoubted genius earned him many admirers, but his abrasive nature meant that he had few friends: his biography is a litany of intellectual achievements and personal hostilities. In 1570 he was jailed by the Inquisition for heresy after casting the horoscope of Christ and writing a book in praise of the notorious Roman emperor Nero. Ten years earlier, his beloved eldest son Giambatista had been executed for the fatal poisoning of his grasping and unfaithful wife Brandonia; then, in 1569, his ne’er-do-well younger son Aldo, impoverished by gambling, was banished from their home city of Bologna for burglarizing Cardano’s house.