The Info List - Hans Christian Ørsted

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Hans Christian Ørsted
Hans Christian Ørsted
(/ˈɜːrstɛd/;[2] Danish: [hans kʁæsdjan ˈɶɐ̯sdɛð]; often rendered Oersted
in English; 14 August 1777 – 9 March 1851) was a Danish physicist and chemist who discovered that electric currents create magnetic fields, which was the first connection found between electricity and magnetism. He is still known today for Oersted's Law
Oersted's Law
and the oersted (Oe), the cgs unit of magnetic H-field strength, is named after him. He shaped post-Kantian philosophy and advances in science throughout the late 19th century.[3] In 1824, Ørsted founded Selskabet for Naturlærens Udbredelse (SNU), a society to disseminate knowledge of the natural sciences. He was also the founder of predecessor organizations which eventually became the Danish Meteorological Institute and the Danish Patent and Trademark Office. Ørsted was the first modern thinker to explicitly describe and name the thought experiment. A leader of the Danish Golden Age, Ørsted was a close friend of Hans Christian Andersen and the brother of politician and jurist Anders Sandøe Ørsted, who served as Prime Minister of Denmark
Prime Minister of Denmark
from 1853 to 1854.


1 Early life and studies 2 Electromagnetism 3 Later years 4 Legacy

4.1 Toponomy 4.2 Monuments and memorials 4.3 Awards and lectures

5 Writings 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Early life and studies[edit]

The young H.C. Ørsted

Ørsted was born in Rudkøbing. As a young boy Ørsted developed his interest in science while working for his father, who owned a pharmacy.[4] He and his brother Anders received most of their early education through self-study at home, going to Copenhagen
in 1793 to take entrance exams for the University of Copenhagen, where both brothers excelled academically. By 1796 Ørsted had been awarded honors for his papers in both aesthetics and physics. He earned his doctorate in 1799 for a dissertation based on the works of Kant entitled "The Architectonics of Natural Metaphysics". In 1801 Ørsted received a travel scholarship and public grant which enabled him to spend three years travelling across Europe. In Germany he met Johann Wilhelm Ritter, a physicist who believed there was a connection between electricity and magnetism. This made sense to Ørsted since he believed in Kantian ideas about the unity of nature and that deep relationships existed between natural phenomena.[4] Their conversations drew Ørsted into the study of physics. He became a professor at the University of Copenhagen
in 1806 and continued his research with electric currents and acoustics. Under his guidance the University developed a comprehensive physics and chemistry program and established new laboratories. In 1800, Alessandro Volta
Alessandro Volta
invented a galvanic battery inspiring Ørsted to think about the nature of electricity and to conduct his first electrical experiments. Between 1800 and 1803, he visited Germany, France and Holland for lectures. Ørsted welcomed William Christopher Zeise to his family home in autumn 1806; taking the then young chemist (and fellow son of a pharmacist) under his care and giving him encouragement while offering him a position as his lecturing assistant. In 1812 he again visited Germany
and France after publishing a manual called Videnskaben om Naturens Almindelige Love and Første Indledning til den Almindelige Naturlære (1811). In Berlin
he wrote his famous essay on the identity of chemical and electrical forces in which he first stated the connection existing between magnetism and electricity. Then, in Paris he translated that essay into Latin with Marcel de Serres. The Royal Society of London
Royal Society of London
gave him the Copley Medal and the French Academy awarded him with 3,000 gold francs. Ørsted was just 43 when he made this great discovery. He established the Royal Polytechnic Institute in 1829 of which he was the first director. Electromagnetism[edit]

Hans Christian Ørsted, Der Geist in der Natur, 1854

Play media

A compass needle with a wire, showing the effect Ørsted discovered. Demonstrated by Prof. Oliver Zajkov, Physics
Institute at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Macedonia.

Der Geist in der Natur, v.1 (1854)

On 21 April 1820, during a lecture, Ørsted noticed a compass needle deflected from magnetic north when an electric current from a battery was switched on and off, confirming a direct relationship between electricity and magnetism.[5] His initial interpretation was that magnetic effects radiate from all sides of a wire carrying an electric current, as do light and heat. Three months later he began more intensive investigations and soon thereafter published his findings, showing that an electric current produces a circular magnetic field as it flows through a wire. This discovery was not due to mere chance, since Ørsted had been looking for a relation between electricity and magnetism for several years. The special symmetry of the phenomenon was possibly one of the difficulties that retarded the discovery.[6] It is sometimes claimed that Italian Gian Domenico Romagnosi
Gian Domenico Romagnosi
was the first person who found a relationship between electricity and magnetism, about two decades before Ørsted's 1820 discovery of electromagnetism. Romagnosi's experiments showed that an electric current from a voltaic pile could deflect a magnetic needle.[7] His researches were published in two Italian newspapers and were largely overlooked by the scientific community.[8] Ørsted's findings stirred much research into electrodynamics throughout the scientific community, influencing French physicist André-Marie Ampère's developments of a single mathematical formula to represent the magnetic forces between current-carrying conductors. Ørsted's work also represented a major step toward a unified concept of energy. In 1822, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and in 1849 a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[9] . Later years[edit]


In 1825, Ørsted made a significant contribution to chemistry by producing aluminium for the first time. While an aluminium-iron alloy had previously been developed by British scientist and inventor Humphry Davy, Ørsted was the first to isolate the element via a reduction of aluminium chloride. In 1829, Ørsted founded Den Polytekniske Læreanstalt
Den Polytekniske Læreanstalt
('College of Advanced Technology') which was later renamed the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).[10] Ørsted died at Copenhagen
in 1851, aged 73, and was buried in the Assistens Cemetery in the same city. Legacy[edit] The centimetre-gram-second system (CGS) unit of magnetic induction (oersted) is named for his contributions to the field of electromagnetism. Toponomy[edit] The Ørsted Park in Copenhagen
was named after Ørsted in 1879. The streets H.C. Ørsteds Vej
H.C. Ørsteds Vej
in Frederiksberg
and H. C. Ørsteds Allé is located in Galten are also named after him. The buildings that are home to the Department of Chemistry
and the Institute for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen's North Campus are named the H.C. Ørsted Institute, after him. A dormitory named H. C. Ørsted Kollegiet is located in Odense. The first Danish satellite, launched 1999, was named after Ørsted. Monuments and memorials[edit]

Statue of Ørsted in Ørstedsparken, in Copenhagen.

A statue of Hans Christian Ørsted
Hans Christian Ørsted
was installed in the Ørsted Park in 1880. A commemorative plaque is located above the gate on the building in Studiestræde
where he lived and worked. The 100 danske kroner note issued from 1950 to 1970 carried an engraving of Ørsted. Awards and lectures[edit] Two medals are awarded in Ørsted's name: the Oersted
Medal for notable contributions in the teaching of physics in America, awarded by American Association of Physics
Teachers, along with the H. C. Ørsted Medal for Danish scientists, awarded by the Danish Selskabet for Naturlærens Udbredelse (Society for the Dissemination of Natural Science), which Ørsted founded. The H.C. Ørsted Lectureship is awarded to two prominent researchers annually, and has been bestowed upon the following scientists: Upcoming H.C. Ørsted Lecture : Dr. Jack Connerney, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA : "Mars Crustal Magnetism: Through The Lens Sharply". Previous H.C. Ørsted Lecturers:

Professor Michaël Grätzel, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL Professor Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Collège de France, Nobel Laureate in Physics Professor Ivar Giaever, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Nobel Laureate in Physics Professor Paul F. Hoffman, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, Harvard University Professor Leroy Hood, William Gates III
William Gates III
Professor, Institute for Systems Biology Professor Sir Harold Kroto, University of Sussex, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Professor Hugo de Man,[11] Catholic University of Leuven Professor Sir Roger Penrose, University of Oxford Professor Julius Rebek, Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at The Scripps Research Institute Professor Cees Dekker, Nanophysics, TU Delft Professor Subra Suresh, Materials Science and Biological Engineering, MIT Professor Everett Peter Greenberg, Microbiology, University of Washington Honorary Professor Sir John Meurig Thomas, University of Cambridge Professor Ahmed Zewail, California Institute of Technology, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Professor Nathan S. Lewis, Chemistry, California Institute of Technology Professor Sajeev John, University of Toronto Professor Howard A. Stone, Fluid Mechanics, Princeton University Mallinckrodt
Professor of Physics
and of Applied Physics
Lene Vestergaard Hau, Harvard University Professor Stanley N. Cohen, School of Medicine, Stanford University Professor Juan de Pablo,[12] Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Mario Molina, University of California, San Diego, Nobel Prize Winner.[13]

Writings[edit] Ørsted was a published writer and poet. His poetry series Luftskibet ("The Airship") was inspired by the balloon flights of fellow physicist and stage magician Étienne-Gaspard Robert.[14] Shortly before his death, he submitted a collection of articles for publication under the title "The Soul in Nature". The book presents Ørsted's life philosophy and views on a wide variety of issues.[15] See also[edit]

Biography portal

Oersted's law James Clerk Maxwell Michael Faraday Thought experiment


^ a b rare-earth-magnets.com ^ "Oersted". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. ^ Brian, R.M. & Cohen, R.S. (2007). Hans Christian Ørsted
Hans Christian Ørsted
and the Romantic Legacy in Science, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 241. ^ a b "Hans Christian Ørsted". Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Retrieved 2009-08-14.  ^ Hans Christian Ørsted
Hans Christian Ørsted
(1997). Karen Jelved, Andrew D. Jackson, and Ole Knudsen, translators from Danish to English. Selected Scientific Works of Hans Christian Ørsted, ISBN 0-691-04334-5, pp.421-445 ^ Martins, Roberto de Andrade, "Resistance to the discovery of electromagnetism: Ørsted and the symmetry of the magnetic field", in: Fabio Bevilacqua & Enrico Giannetto (eds.), Volta and the History of Electricity, Pavia / Milano, Università degli Studi di Pavia / Editore Ulrico Hoepli, 2003, pp. 245-265. (Collana di Storia della Scienza) ISBN 88-203-3284-1 ^ Martins, Roberto de Andrade, "Romagnosi and Volta’s pile: early difficulties in the interpretation of Voltaic electricity", in Fabio Bevilacqua & Lucio Fregonese (eds.), Nuova Voltiana: Studies on Volta and his Times, Pavia / Milano, Università degli Studi di Pavia / Ulrico Hoepli, 2001, vol. 3, pp. 81-102. ^ Stringari, Sandro; Robert R. Wilson. Romagnosi and the discovery of electromagnetism. Accademia dei Lincei.  ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter O" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 8 September 2016.  ^ "History of DTU". Technical University of Denmark. Archived from the original on 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-08-14.  ^ Hugo de Man ^ Juan de Pablo ^ The H.C. Ørsted Lectures Archived 2013-03-18 at the Wayback Machine. ^ National Museum of Denmark. "The Soul in Nature: 1802 Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.". Accessed 30 July 2007. ^ Hans Christian, Ørsted (1852). The soul in nature: with supplementary contributions. H. G. Bohn. 

Further reading[edit]

Brain, R. M.; et al. (2007). Hans Christian Ørsted
Hans Christian Ørsted
and the Romantic Legacy in Science. Ideas, Disciplines, Practices. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 241. Dordrecht. pp. 273–338.  Christensen, D. C. (2013). Hans Christian Ørsted. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-966926-4.  Bern Dibner (1962) Oersted
and the discovery of electromagnetism, New York, Blaisdell. Ole Immanuel Franksen (1981) H. C. Ørsted – a man of the two cultures, Strandbergs Forlag, Birkerød, Denmark. (Note: Both the original Latin version and the English translation of his 1820 paper "Experiments on the effect of a current of electricity on the magnetic needle" can be found in this book.)

External links[edit]

Media related to Hans Christian Ørsted
Hans Christian Ørsted
at Wikimedia Commons Physics
Tree: Hans Christian Ørsted
Hans Christian Ørsted
Details Interactive Java Tutorial on Oersted's Compass
Experiment National High Magnetic Field Laboratory The soul in nature : with supplementary contributions, London: H. G. Bohn, 1852. Hans Christian Ørsted
Hans Christian Ørsted
at Find a Grave  "Oersted, Hans Christian". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920. 

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Copley Medallists (1801–1850)

Astley Cooper
Astley Cooper
(1801) William Hyde Wollaston
William Hyde Wollaston
(1802) Richard Chenevix (1803) Smithson Tennant
Smithson Tennant
(1804) Humphry Davy
Humphry Davy
(1805) Thomas Andrew Knight
Thomas Andrew Knight
(1806) Everard Home
Everard Home
(1807) William Henry (1808) Edward Troughton
Edward Troughton
(1809) Benjamin Collins Brodie (1811) William Thomas Brande
William Thomas Brande
(1813) James Ivory (1814) David Brewster
David Brewster
(1815) Henry Kater
Henry Kater
(1817) Robert Seppings
Robert Seppings
(1818) Hans Christian Ørsted
Hans Christian Ørsted
(1820) Edward Sabine
Edward Sabine
/ John Herschel
John Herschel
(1821) William Buckland
William Buckland
(1822) John Pond (1823) John Brinkley (1824) François Arago
François Arago
/ Peter Barlow (1825) James South (1826) William Prout
William Prout
/ Henry Foster (1827) George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
(1831) Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
/ Siméon Denis Poisson
Siméon Denis Poisson
(1832) Giovanni Antonio Amedeo Plana
Giovanni Antonio Amedeo Plana
(1834) William Snow Harris
William Snow Harris
(1835) Jöns Jacob Berzelius
Jöns Jacob Berzelius
/ Francis Kiernan (1836) Antoine César Becquerel
Antoine César Becquerel
/ John Frederic Daniell
John Frederic Daniell
(1837) Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Friedrich Gauss
/ Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
(1838) Robert Brown (1839) Justus von Liebig
Justus von Liebig
/ Jacques Charles François Sturm
Jacques Charles François Sturm
(1840) Georg Ohm
Georg Ohm
(1841) James MacCullagh
James MacCullagh
(1842) Jean-Baptiste Dumas
Jean-Baptiste Dumas
(1843) Carlo Matteucci (1844) Theodor Schwann
Theodor Schwann
(1845) Urbain Le Verrier
Urbain Le Verrier
(1846) John Herschel
John Herschel
(1847) John Couch Adams
John Couch Adams
(1848) Roderick Murchison
Roderick Murchison
(1849) Peter Andreas Hansen
Peter Andreas Hansen

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Law and science

Adam Wilhelm Hauch Peter Wilhelm Lund Rasmus Rask Joakim Frederik Schouw Anders Sandøe Ørsted Hans Christian Ørsted

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 39490755 LCCN: n82158403 ISNI: 0000 0001 0890 0052 GND: 118786784 SELIBR: 291440 SUDOC: 060747013 BNF: cb125467444 (data) NLA: 35914159 BNE: XX1648