Cauchy: The Revolutionary Mathematician Who Lived During a Revolution

Ali
7 min readMay 3, 2023
Augustin-Louis Cauchy

Regardless of which math textbook you pick up, there is one mathematician who you are bound to see; Augustin-Louis Cauchy. Yes, the Cauchy whose name you hear more than the words’ integral’ and ‘derivative’ in a math class.

Augustin Louis Cauchy is seen as the most productive mathematician in history. He was born during an era when Marie Antoinette’s “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” or “Let them eat cake” caused uproar and revolt among the peasants scrounging for even a bit of bread. Living amidst constant turmoil and unrest, he caused his own revolution in mathematics.

Despite the constant struggles in Augustin Cauchy’s life, he was dedicated to productivity and pushing the math world further, one step at a time. What set him aside from the other mathematicians of his time were the definitions he discovered, his prowess in detailed analysis, and his ability to simplify his findings into simple and understandable formulas.

Augustin Cauchy spent his entire life producing works for the betterment of mathematics. When we scour the archives of his time, we find the 789 articles he published, some exceeding 300 pages.

I want to point out an interesting detail about the lengthy articles of Augustin Cauchy. The publishers of these articles would lose so much money that they put a four-page limit on publishing his articles. This rule is still in use at some publishers almost 250 years later.

Cauchy didn’t have the luxury of going to school as a child since, at the time, schools were shut down while guillotine centers were running around the clock. Until age 13, Cauchy’s math teacher was his father, but as luck would have it, his next teachers were Laplace and Lagrange, two mathematics geniuses. These two geniuses opened the door for Cauchy’s career as a mathematician. During a gathering, Laplace even boasted about Cauchy to his colleagues, stating that “one day, this boy will pass us all,” although he was the only one to believe that.

Once when Cauchy was presenting his thoughts on the convergence of series to…

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Ali

Math Teacher. Content Curator. Soccer player. Maradona fan. Mostly write about the lectures I love to learn better. alikayaspor@gmail.com