Girolamo Cardano

The Renaissance man

Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576) is one of the most colourful and striking personalities in the history of science. A man of the Renaissance, whose contributions spanned across the fields of medicine, philosophy, astronomy, geology, theology and mathematics.

He was also a very peculiar innovator.  He invented the Cardan shaft, pillows to reduce allergic reactions (very new in those days) and the combination lock.

However, he is best known for his contributions to mathematics, solving the mathematical fourth order equations problem and producing the first probability formulae in history, which directly impacted the fledgling insurance industry by providing a basis for quantifying risk.

The rationale behind the name

In 2000 Cardano was founded as a company with the wish to innovate the financial world, based on the notion of creating robust solutions in the areas of investment and risk management.

Although the company's namesake was famous for his pioneering work in probability theory, this was not the reason for choosing Cardano. On the contrary, we believe people overestimate the knowledge they have about financial markets. To us, therefore, the notion of probabilities is also often overestimated in finance and far less relevant than the notion of dealing properly with the consequences of uncertain events. If it wasn't about probabilities, what was it? Well Cardano was one of the first in the Renaissance that conveyed the message that our destiny does not entirely lie in the hand of a higher power, but partially in our own hands.  

Despite the fact that we live in a world of uncertainty, we can create an environment in which we control our destiny within certain boundaries. Uncertainty is here to stay but we can mitigate the consequences of uncertain events.  That was the Renaissance idea, including that of one of its first masters, Girolamo Cardano, and that is our philosophy within Cardano today.