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Niccolò Tartaglia
Niccolò Tartaglia

One of the foremost mathematicians of the Renaissance. His name is linked to the resolution of third-degree equations, already achieved by Scipione del Ferro (1465-1526) in the 1510s or 1520s but never revealed. Tartaglia disclosed the formula in Quesiti et inventioni diverse (Venice, 1546) - but only in the wake of the undue appropriation of the discovery by Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576), who, after learning about it from Tartaglia himself in 1539, had published it in his Ars magna of 1545. The episode triggered a dispute between Tartaglia and the mathematician Lodovico Ferrari (1522-1565), author of six Cartelli [Pamphlets] (1547-48) against Tartaglia that prompted an equal number of Risposte [Replies] by the latter (Risposte to Lodovico Ferrari, Venice 1547 [1-4] and Brescia 1548 [5-6]). Tartaglia is also known as a publisher of classical authors: he prepared the first annotated Italian translation of Euclid's Elements (Euclide Megarense, Venice, 1543); the first edition of the Latin translation of some works of Archimedes by Guglielmo di Moerbeke in the thirteenth century (Opera Archimedis, Venice, 1543), and an Italian translation of Archimedes' writings (1551). Tartaglia also made important contributions to the application of mathematical disciplines to the art of warfare: the scientific foundations of ballistics, the measurement of calibers, and land surveying. These subjects were discussed most fully in Nova scientia (Venice, 1537), but also in the Quesiti and the General trattato di numeri et misure (Venice, 1556-1560).