AUGUSTIN LOUIS CAUCHY was born on August 21, 1789, in Paris, the eldest of six children. By the time he was 11, both Laplace and Lagrange han recognized Cauchy’s  extraordinary talent for mathematics. In school he won prizes for Greek, Latin, and the humanities. At the age of 21, he was given a commission in Napoleon’s army as a civil engineer. For the next few years, Cauchy attended to his engineering duties while carrying out brilliant mathematical research on the side.

In 1815, at the age 26, Cauchy was made Professor of Mathematics at the Ecole Polytechnique and was recognized as the leading mathematician in France. Cauchy and his contemporary Gauss were the last men to know the whole of mathematics as known at their time, and both made important contributions to nearly every branch, both pure and applied, as well as to physics and astronomy.

Cauchy introduced a new level of rigor into mathematical analysis. We owe our contemporary notions of limit and continuity to him. He gave the proof of the Fundamental Theorem of calculus. Cauchy was the founder of complex function theory and a pioneer in the theory of permutation groups and determinants. His total written output of mathematics  fills 24 large volumes and is second only to that of Euler. He wrote over 500 research papers after the age of 50. Cauchy died at the age of 67 on May 23, 1857.

(Sumber: Joseph A. Gallian 4th ed)


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