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Friday: April 1, 2005

Long Before BlogSpot . . . .

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:20 AM GMT-0500

A book I’m indexing reports that the 19th century mathematician Augustin-Louis Cauchy was so prolific that he sometimes published papers at the rate of two per week. When the editors of his favorite journal imposed a quota, he persuaded a family member to create a new journal containing nothing but his own work. The book does not give the name of the journal, which is annoying but leaves room for plausible conjecture. How about Cauchiana ? Revue de Cauchy ? Études Cauchiennes ? Le contenu, c’est moi ? Moi, moi, moi ? Of course, today he wouldn’t need a family member in publishing, he could just start up Cauchyblog.

Update: (April 5, 9:34 PM)

As my brother the engineer explains in the comments, the first journal, the weekly Comptes rendus of the French Academy of Sciences, did not ban Cauchy, just imposed a four-page limit on articles, when his sometimes ran to hundreds of pages. Another site (I’ve already forgotten which) says that the limit is still in force today. I have been unable to find on the web what his supposed family journal was titled. Perhaps an urban legend? This site reports that Cauchy liked to take credit for the ideas of others, who called him ‘cochon’ (pig). They do not observe that ‘cochon’ is also a pun on Cauchy’s similar-sounding name.


  1. I googled cauchy and E.T. Bell–
    and didn’t find exactly the same story–Comptes Rendus instituted a 4 page limit on submissions, and Cauchy’s tended to run to hundreds of pages.

    Comment by steevil — Friday: April 1, 2005 @ 12:28 PM GMT-0500

  2. My copy of E. T. Bell’s Men of Mathematics, page 287, has that Cauchy’s journal was Exercises de Mathematiques from 1826 to 1830 and later, Exercises d’Analyse Mathematique et de Physique.

    Comment by steevil(Dr Weevil's bro Steve) — Friday: April 1, 2005 @ 10:39 PM GMT-0500

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