Ampère's Experiments

in The Romantic Machine

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226812205
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226812229 | DOI:
Ampère's Experiments

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In 1820, the Danish natural philosopher Hans Christian Oersted announced his discovery of electromagnetism, challenging a fundamental assumption of “the standard view” in physics at the time: That magnetism and electricity, along with the other imponderable fluids, light and heat, were distinct and independent. Many in France, distrustful of the romantic science with which Oersted was associated, dismissed the report as “another German râverie.” However, the mathematician, chemist, and philosopher André-Marie Ampère decided to reproduce and elaborate Oersted's findings by conducting experiments that secured the basic principles of electrodynamics. He developed experimental devices to demonstrate the equivalence of electricity and magnetism, and to measure their dynamic force, setting his research within a philosophy of knowledge formed in dialogue with the introspective philosopher Maine de Biran.

Keywords: Hans Christian Oersted; electromagnetism; physics; André-Marie Ampère; magnetism; electricity; France; experiments; electrodynamics; Maine de Biran

Chapter.  12641 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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