(January 20, 1775 – June 10, 1836)

Brilliant, diligent and inquisitive, André-Marie Ampère showed early interest in mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy and philosophy. He spent his youth studying the works of Leonhard Euler, Daniel Bernoulli and Jean le Rond d’Alembert; and even published a treatise on Mathematical Probability. He was also one of the maths lecturers who tutored Augustin-Louis Cauchy at the École Polytechnique, Paris; and mentored Frédéric Ozanam, who co-founded what later became Saint Vincent de Paul society. These early foundations later bolstered his career as a mathematical physicist. Shortly after Hans Christian Oersted discovered electromagnetism, Ampère tried to improve upon that by searching for interlinking theory which would further clarify the phenomenon. In the process, he discovered that a pair of current-carrying parallel wires would either attract or repel each other: depending on whether the current flows in the same or in the opposite direction. He also devised math formula which illustrated the magnetic forces between conductors that transmitted electric currents. His famous pair of laws: the Force Law and the Circuital Law, respectively advanced magnetostatics and electrodynamics. While his force law dealt with the attraction or repulsion between two current-carrying wires, his circuital law (that James Clerk Maxwell derived mathematically in 1861), revealed how integrated magnetic fields around closed loops relate to the currents passing through those loops. In recognition for his contributions, ampere (or simply amp) was designated the S.I. unit of electric current in 1881. He is as well, one of the 72 illustrious Frenchmen whose names were immortalized on the Eiffel Tower.


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