With Laurent series and the classication of singularities in hand, it is easy to prove the Residue Theorem. In addition to being a handy tool for evaluating integrals, the Residue Theorem has many theoretical consequences, for example, the Argument Principle, Rouché’s Theorem, the Local Mapping Theorem, the Open Mapping Theorem, the Hurwitz Theorem, the general Casorati-Weierstrass Theorem, and Riemann’s Theorem. This writeup presents the Argument Principle with an application.

**The Argument Principle**

**Theorem (Argument Principle)**. Let be a simple closed counterclockwise curve. Let be analytic and nonzero on and meromorphic inside . Let denote the number of zeros of f inside , each counted as many times as its multiplicity, and let denote the number of poles of inside , each counted as many times as its multiplicity. Then

.

**The Winding Number**

*Definition*. Let be any closed rectifiable path. By the usual abuse of notation, let also denote the corresponding subset of . Consider a complex-valued function on the complement of the path,

where

.

For any , the function is the winding number of about . For instance, if is a circle traversed once counterclockwise about then its winding number about is 1.

The Argument Principle Again

With the winding number in hand, we can rephrase the Argument Principle in a way that explains its name.

**Theorem (Argument Principle, second version)**.

Let be a simple closed counterclockwise curve. Let be analytic and nonzero on and meromorphic inside . Let denote the number of zeros of inside , each counted as many times as its multiplicity, and let denote the number of poles of inside , each counted as many times as its multiplicity. Then

.

That is, the theorem is called the Argument Principle because the number of zeros minus poles of inside is the number of times that the argument of increases by .

For example, consider the polynomial

.

To count the roots of in the right half plane, let be a large disk centered at the orgin, large enough to contain all the roots of . Let be the boundary of the right half of . Thus is the union of a segment of the imaginary axis and a semicircle. The values of on the imaginary axis are

.

Therefore, is always positive, and so takes the imaginary axis into the right half plane. On the semicircle, behaves qualitatively as . Therefore the path winds twice around the origin, showing that has two roots in the right half plane.