Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Scipione del Ferro (1465-1526)

Scipione del Ferro was an Italian mathematician who is believed to have found a solution to the cubic equation. In mid 16th century Italy, there was much interest and debate over the solution of the cubic, or third degree, polynomial.

Before the publication in about 1545 of Girolamo Cardano’s controversial book Artis magnae sive de regulis algebraicis liber unus, del Ferro had already discovered the general solution of certain cubic equations some decades earlier.

Del Ferro was born on February 6, 1465, in Bologna, Italy. His father was Floriana Ferro, a papermaker, and his mother was named Filippa.

Del Ferro attended the University of Bologna and he became a lecturer in arithmetic and geometry at the university, where he remained from 1496 to 1526. He retained his post for the rest of his life although during the last few years he also did some commercial work.

Although none of his work survives he is known to have influenced the study of fractions with irrational denominators. He kept a notebook where he recorded all his important discoveries.

After his death in 1526, this notebook was inherited by his son in-law Hannival Nave. Del Ferro died on November 5, 1526 in Bologna.
Scipione del Ferro (1465-1526)
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