这次被抄袭的是 University of St Andrews 的两位数学教授。文章来自两位教授的数学史网站。在网站上两位教授说：我们非常欢迎各位使用我们准备的材料，但使用时要提到我们是原作者。我们也非常欢迎各位把我们准备的材料翻译成其它文字，但翻译时要提到我们是原作者。
“真相”一文讲的是三次方程求解的争论史。上述网站对四位相关人物每人都有一份精彩的介绍[2，3，4，5]。“真相”所讲的故事几乎全部来自。此外， “真相”还用到了中的几小段以及[4，5]中的各一句。在这次抄袭中，方舟子的做法是维持的整体结构，但砍掉一些句子。在谈及到其它三位人物时，方舟子从相应的文章中抽取一到几句与现有部分混到一起。如果刨掉了那些可以被肯定是抄袭的句子外，“真相”剩下的部分就只是一些段落间的连接句或可有 可无的评论句。这样的句子真假难辨，因此全部罗列如下，由读者自己判断。换句话说，“真相”一文的整体构思是从照搬过来的，而它的原创句子不会超出 下面几句。
第二段：“这个流行版本从总体到细节都是错误的”， “而且也留下了有关这一争执的著作。后人对此事的看法在很大程度上就是受塔塔利亚一面之词的影响” 。
第十三段： 这段应该是原创 。
So Tartaglia replied to Ferrari, trying to bring Cardan into the debate. Cardan, however, had no intention of debating with Tartaglia. Ferrari and Tartaglia wrote fruitlessly to each other for about a year, trading the most offensive personal insults but achieving little in the way of resolving the dispute. Suddenly in 1548, Tartaglia received an impressive offer of a lectureship in his home town, Brescia. To clearly establish his credentials for the post, Tartaglia was asked to journey to Milan and take part in the contest with Ferrari.
这个流行版本从总体到细节都是错误的。塔塔利亚不仅留下了名字（真名尼科洛•方塔纳），Niccolo Fontana, known as Tartaglia  而且也留下了有关这一争执的著作。后人对此事的看法在很大程度上就是受塔塔利亚一面之词的影响。
塔塔利亚与卡当之间并未进行过数学比赛，和塔塔利亚比赛的另有其人。在当时的意大利，两个数学家进行解题比赛成了风气，方式是两人各拿出赌金，给对方出若干道题，30天后提交答案，解出更多道题的人获胜，胜者赢得全部赌金。塔塔利亚很热衷于参加这种比赛，并多次获胜。Tartaglia gradually acquired a reputation as a promising mathematician by participating successfully in a large number of debates.
The first person known to have solved cubic equations algebraically was del Ferro but he told nobody of his achievement. On his deathbed, however, del Ferro passed on the secret to his (rather poor) student Fior. ... and Fior had only been shown by del Ferro how to solve one type, namely 'unknowns and cubes equal to numbers'... Fior began to boast that he was able to solve cubics and a challenge between him and Tartaglia was arranged in 1535. In fact Tartaglia had also discovered how to solve one type of cubic equation ... Tartaglia submitted a variety of different questions, exposing Fior as an, at best, mediocre mathematician. Fior, on the other hand, offered Tartaglia thirty opportunities to solve the 'unknowns and cubes' problem since he believed that he would be unable to solve this type, as in fact had been the case when the contest was set up. However, in the early hours of 13 February 1535, inspiration came to Tartaglia and he discovered the method to solve 'squares and cubes equal to numbers'. Tartaglia was then able to solve all thirty of Fior's problems in less than two hours. ... Tartaglia did not take his prize for winning from Fior, however, the honour of winning was enough.
At this point Cardan enters the story. As public lecturer of mathematics at the Piatti Foundation in Milan, ... he contacted Tartaglia, through an intermediary, ... asked to be shown the method, promising to keep it secret. Tartaglia, however, refused. An incensed Cardan now wrote to Tartaglia directly, ... hinting that he had been discussing Tartaglia's brilliance with the governor of Milan, Alfonso d'Avalos, the Marchese del Vasto, who was one of Cardan's powerful patrons. 
On receipt of this letter, Tartaglia radically revised his attitude, ... So, in March 1539, Tartaglia left Venice and travelled to Milan. ... Cardan attended to his guest's every need and soon the conversation turned to the problem of cubic equations. Tartaglia, after much persuasion, agreed to tell Cardan his method, if Cardan would swear never to reveal it, ... and Tartaglia divulged his formula in the form of a poem ... Anxious now to leave Cardan's house, he obtained from his host, a letter of introduction to the Marchese and left to seek him out. Instead though, he turned back for Venice, wondering if his decision to part with his formula had been a mistake ... Cardan published two mathematical books later that year and, as soon as he could get copies, Tartaglia checked to make sure his formula was not included. Though he felt a little happier to find that the formula was not included in the texts, when Cardan wrote to him in a friendly manner Tartaglia rebuffed his offer of continued friendship and mercilessly ridiculed his books on the merest trivialities.
Based on Tartaglia's formula, Cardan and Ferrari, his assistant, made remarkable progress finding proofs of all cases of the cubic and, even more impressively, solving the quartic equation. 
It was soon clear to Cardan that his secretary was an exceptionally gifted young man ... Ferrari ... when he was eighteen years old, he began to teach. ... Cardan and Ferrari made remarkable progress on the foundations that Tartaglia had unwillingly given them. They ... eventually were able to extend solutions discovered in these special cases. Ferrari discovered the solution of the quartic equation in 1540 ... but it relied on the solution of cubic equations so could not be published before the solution of the cubic had been published. However, there was no way to make this public without the breaking the sacred oath made by Cardan.
Tartaglia made no move to publish his formula ... Tartaglia probably wished to keep his formula in reserve for any upcoming debates.
Despairing of ever publishing their ground breaking work, Cardan and Ferrari travelled to Bologna ...
Cardan and Ferrari travelled to Bologna in 1543 and learnt from della Nave that it had been del Ferro, not Tartaglia, who had been the first to solve the cubic equation. Cardan felt that although he had sworn not to reveal Tartaglia's method surely nothing prevented him from publishing del Ferro's formula. In 1545 Cardan published Artis magnae sive de regulis algebraicis liber unus, or Ars magna as it is more commonly known, which contained solutions to both the cubic and quartic equations and all of the additional work he had completed on Tartaglia's formula. Del Ferro and Tartaglia are credited with their discoveries, as is Ferrari, and the story written down in the text.
Cardan and Ferrari satisfied della Nave ... and della Nave showed them in return the papers of the late del Ferro, proving that Tartaglia was not the first to discover the solution of the cubic.
del Ferro ... kept a notebook in which he recorded his most important discoveries. This notebook passed to del Ferro's son-in-law Hannibal Nave ... Hannibal Nave took over del Ferro's lecturing duties at the University of Bologna 
Tartaglia was furious when he discovered that Cardan had disregarded his oath and his intense dislike of Cardan turned into a pathological hatred. The following year Tartaglia published a book, New Problems and Inventions which clearly stated his side of the story and his belief that Cardan had acted in extreme bad faith. For good measure, he added a few malicious personal insults directed against Cardan. Ars Magna had clearly established Cardan as the world's leading mathematician and he was not much damaged by Tartaglia's venomous attacks. Ferrari, however, wrote to Tartaglia, berating him mercilessly and challenged him to a public debate. Tartaglia was extremely reluctant to dispute with Ferrari, still a relatively unknown mathematician, against whom even a victory would do little material good ... So Tartaglia replied to Ferrari, trying to bring Cardan into the debate. Cardan, however, had no intention of debating with Tartaglia. Ferrari and Tartaglia wrote fruitlessly to each other for about a year, trading the most offensive personal insults but achieving little in the way of resolving the dispute. Suddenly in 1548, Tartaglia received an impressive offer of a lectureship in his home town, Brescia. To clearly establish his credentials for the post, Tartaglia was asked to journey to Milan and take part in the contest with Ferrari. 
On 10 August 1548, the contest which all Italy wanted to see, for the correspondence between the two antagonists had taken the form of open letters, took place in the Church in the Garden of the Frati Zoccolanti in Milan. A huge crowd had gathered, and the Milanese celebrities came out in force, with Don Ferrante di Gonzaga, governor of Milan, the supreme arbiter. Ferrari ... brought a large crowd of friends and supporters. Alone but for his brother, Tartaglia was a vastly experienced disputant ... By the end of the first day, it was clear that things were not going Tartaglia's way. .... Ferrari clearly understood the cubic and quartic equations more thoroughly than his opponent who decided that he would leave Milan that very night and thus leave the contest unresolved, so victory went to Ferrari. 
Tartaglia suffered as a result of the contest. After giving his lectures for a year in Brescia, he was informed that his stipend was not going to be honoured. Even after numerous lawsuits, Tartaglia could not get any payment and returned, seriously out of pocket, to his previous job in Venice, nursing a huge resentment of Cardan ... He died in poverty in his house ... 13 Dec 1557 in Venice 
On the strength of this challenge, Ferrari's fame soared and he was inundated with offers of employment, including a request from the emperor himself, who wanted a tutor for his son. Ferrari fancied a more financially rewarding position though, and took up an appointment as tax assessor to the governor of Milan, Ferrando Gonzaga. After transferring to the service of the church, he retired as a young and very rich man. He moved back to his home town of Bologna ... in 1565 but, sadly, Ferrari died later that year. It is claimed that he died of white arsenic poisoning, administered by his own sister. Certainly, according to Cardan, Maddalena refused to grieve at her brother's funeral and, having inherited Ferrari's fortune, she remarried two weeks later. 
Cardan is reported to have correctly predicted the exact date of his own death but it has been claimed that he achieved this by committing suicide.