(August 21, 1789 – May 23, 1857)
Augustin-Louis Cauchy is the crème-de-la-crème of French mathematicians. His father (Louis-François Cauchy) was also a top genius who won France’s Concours Général. Augustin-Louis excelled in everything he studied. The then leading mathematicians, Joseph-Louis Lagrange and Pierre-Simon Laplace, were amazed by his talents. He would later grow-up to become the greatest of all French mathematicians. Despite his engineering chores, Cauchy always found time for his math-leisure. He pioneered Complex Analysis, Continuum Mechanics, and the Theory of Permutation; in addition to advancing many works of his predecessors. He was proficient in all branches of maths, and his abilities awed his contemporaries. For years, these enabled his fame to exceed that of Carl Gauss (the seemingly invincible Prince of Mathematics). Revered for his intellect and deemed immortal through his works, Cauchy remains the icon of rigorous proofs. He was the first to prove many theorems: including Fermat’s Polygonal Number Theorem. Throughout history, only Leonhard Euler outputted more individual disquisitions than him. His entire 800-plus publications were adjudged to be of the highest standard. Even after denouncing him as “irredeemably mad”, Niels Henrik Abel acknowledged him as “the only person who knew how mathematics should be done”. Judith Grabiner praised him for “institutionalizing rigorous mathematics”; whereas Hans Freudenthal reminded that “more mathematical concepts and theorems are named after Cauchy than anybody else”.