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André Marie Ampère


André Marie Ampère was a French mathematician and physicist. He was born in 1775 and died in 1836. His life was marked by a great brightness in the field of knowledge. At age 12, I was already familiar with advanced mathematics. He would, however, have great family troubles: at the age of eighteen during the French Revolution his father was guillotined during a riot in the city of Lyon; under 30, he lost his wife, whom he had recently married. He was a professor of physics and chemistry, then became a mathematics teacher in Paris.

In 1820, the Danish Oesterd presented in this city, at the French Academy of Sciences, his discovery: a magnetized needle was deflected in the vicinity of a metallic conductor run by electric current. This sparked huge interest among French researchers, who rushed to investigate further. One of the most enthusiastic about this task was Ampère. In fact, just one week after that presentation, he could practically represent the phenomenon of needle deviation. This is what we now know as the right-hand rule.

Until then, magnetic phenomena could only be observed with the aid of magnetized materials, such as magnets or iron filings. Ampere, however, found another way to show the attraction or repulsion caused by a thread running through current. To this end, it installed another electrified wire parallel to the first. When the current ran both ways in the same direction, they would attract each other, repelling each other if the direction of one of them was reversed. He also researched the magnetism caused by a current running through a wire arranged in a circle. It theoretically concluded that if the wire were wound in a spiral, the result would be the same as that produced by a magnetized bar.

We can say that his experiments opened new ground in the study of electrical phenomena: that of moving electricity, or Electrodynamics. His work is important because it is not only made up of discoveries and experiments, but because there electrical and magnetic phenomena are also described mathematically. In 1823, Ampère claimed that the properties of a magnet were caused by minute electric currents circulating within it. This occurred more than seventy years before the moving electric particles in the atoms, which in fact are responsible for the magnetic fields, were known.

Bibliography: Learning Physics, Publisher Scipione.