Augustin Louis Cauchy

1789 (Paris) – 1857 (Sceaux, France)

Cauchy’s father’s friend Lagrange advised studying languages before specialising in mathematics; Laplace also encouraged him. He was a student of Ampère’s, and was encouraged by Legendre and Malus in his work on polygons and polyhedra. When Biot went on an expedition to Shetland, Cauchy stepped into his shoes. The revolutionary firebrand Galois sent a paper to the difficult and ultra-conservative Cauchy, who nonetheless encouraged him to send it on to Fourier. He cold-shouldered Poncelet, and met Bolzano (according to a letter of the latter’s) when he went to Prague to coach the emperor’s unresponsive son.