Hans Christian Ørsted

Pt 2106
Leader of the Danish golden age!

Thanks to Google, hundreds of millions of people are today celebrating Hans Christian Ørsted’s birthday without having much of a clue who he is … so who exactly was he? … Probably not even the physics geeks remember much about Hans Christian Ørsted, although Google’s Doodle logo illustrates his key discovery. That is, if you run a current through a wire – in this case, from the battery at the front – then the electricity creates a magnetic field, which will deflect a compass needle. Thus the study of electromagnetism was born, and it’s the basis of a lot of modern life: it led to the development of electricity generators and transformers. Remember that next time you flick a light switch.

2 thoughts on “Hans Christian Ørsted

  1. Also note that Orsted made his discovery while performing a demo for the physics class he was teaching.

    In modern terms …think of your high school physics teacher hooking things up wrong during a demonstration, and accidentally discovering gravity control, or teleportation. High-school physics teachers: one little slip, and civilization goes off on a different path.

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