(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 competition. Augustin-Louis excelled in everything he studied. The leading mathematicians in France (Joseph-Louis Lagrange and Pierre-Simon Laplace) were amazed by his talents. He would later grow-up to become the greatest of all the French mathematicians. Despite his civil 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 a while, these enabled his fame to exceed that of Carl Gauss (the seemingly invincible Prince of Mathematics). Cauchy remains an icon of rigorous proofs. Revered for his intellect and deemed immortal through his works, he was the first to prove many theorems: including Fermat’s Polygonal Number Theorem. Throughout history, only one mathematician (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”. Likewise, Hans Freudenthal reminded that “more mathematical concepts and theorems are named after Cauchy than anybody else”.