Mathematicians Of The Day

4th August

On this day in 1539, Girolamo Cardan wrote to Niccolò Tartaglia in an attempt to understand why his calculations involving the square roots of negative numbers sometimes gave the correct answer. He said that his calculation was as subtle as it is useless.

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Quotation of the day

From William Rowan Hamilton
[This is a paraphrase of something Cicero wrote in 75BC after his description of finding the tomb of Archimedes:
"Who in all the world, who enjoys merely some degree of communion with the Muses, ... is there who would not choose to be the mathematician rather than the tyrant?"
In the context, the tyrant is Marcellus.]