Hans Christian Ørsted (August 14, 1777 – March 9, 1851) was a Danish physicist and chemist, influenced by the thinking of Immanuel Kant. In 1820 he discovered the relationship between electricity and magnetism in a very simple experiment. He demonstrated that a wire carrying a current was able to deflect a magnetized compass needle. Ørsted did not suggest any satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon, nor did he try to represent the phenomenon in a mathematical framework.

Ørsted was not the first person to discover that electricity and magnetism are related. He was preceded in this discovery by 18 years by Gian Domenico Romagnosi, an Italian legal scholar. An account of Romagnosi's discovery was published in 1802 in an Italian newspaper, but it was overlooked by the scientific community.

Hans Christian Ørsted,

In 1825 he made a significant contribution to chemistry by producing aluminium for the first time.

The CGS unit of magnetic induction (oersted) is named in honor of his contributions to the field of electromagnetism.

On his passing in 1851, Hans Christian Ørsted was interred in the Assistens Kirkegård in the Nørrebro section of Copenhagen. He was the brother of the politician Anders Sandøe Ørsted.

See also

James Clerk Maxwell

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Biographies of Physicists and Astronomers