Early Middle Ages

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Lecture 3. Math in 16th century

1515 Del Ferro 1465-1626 discovered and kept in secret a formula to solve cubic equations.

1535 Tartaglia contest with Fiore, solved the cubic equation independently, told to Cardano.

1540 Ferrari 1522-1565 secretary/student of Cardano, solved quartic equations.

1545 Cardano 1501-1576 in Ars Magna gave the formula that solves any cubic equation based on Tartaglia's work and the formula for quartics discovered by Ferrari.

1572 Bombelli 1526-1572 in Algebra gave the rules for calculating with complex numbers. Diophantus problems.

Cardano’s inventions: combination lock, shaft (joint), gimbal (for compass or gyroscope)
Algebra: solution of the cubic equation


1591 Viète writes In artem analyticam isagoge (Introduction to the analytical art), using letters as symbols for quantities, both known and unknown. He uses vowels for the unknowns and consonants for known quantities. Descartes, later, introduces the use of letters x, y ... at the end of the alphabet for unknowns.

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