Biography of Andre-Marie Ampere

The great French physicist Andre-Marie Ampere remembered the world thanks to his classical theory of electromagnetism.


Andre-Marie Amper, born January 20, 1775 in Lyon, was the second child of the rich merchant Jean Jacques Ampere and his wife Jeanne Antoinette Desyute-Sarse Amper. The boy’s father did not believe in academic education, and so he wanted his son to “learn from nature itself”. Jean Jacques Ampere is read by the philosophical works of Jean Jacques Rousseau, and these theories form the basis of André’s education. Almost all childhood, his father was always with his son and sent him to study. Young Ampere shows great interest in mathematics and geometry, but, to his great regret, in the home library there are too few books on these sciences. And then the father takes his son to the city library of Lyon, and there was no better place for the boy. The only obstacle to the desired knowledge is that most of the works are written in Latin. To satisfy his interest in mathematics, Amper decides to study Latin. The boy grew up on the works of Leonard Euler and Daniel Bernoulli.

Personal life

When the French Revolution entered its decisive stage, Amper was still very young, and everything that happened left a deep imprint on his soul. After the formation of a new revolutionary government, his father is elected world judge of Lyon. But the revolution leads to a whole series of tragic events in his life. Because of political differences, Jean Jacques is arrested, and on November 24, 1793, sent to the guillotine. Andre is so hard to survive the death of his father, which even leaves the study of “Mécanique analytique” and for eight months tosses works on mathematics.

To life, he returns only when he meets Julie, who falls in love at first sight. The engagement of Andre Marie Ampere and Julie Carron took place in 1797, and to provide the future family with a decent financial position, the groom undertakes to give lessons in mathematics. In 1799, Andre and Julie marry, and in 1800 their son is born, to whom the parents give the name Jean-Jacques.

Teacher’s Travels

Ampere continues to give lessons, and in 1802 he was offered to become a teacher of mathematics and chemistry at the Central School of the City of Bourges. Although he is in charge of both sciences, Amper directs his main efforts precisely in mathematics. His research in the field of “probability theory” in 1803 leads him to the Paris Academy, where he presents his work “Mathematical Theory of Games.” But in July of the same year, another personal tragedy occurred in his life: to his great sorrow, Julie is dying, suffering from poor health. Staying in Lyon, where everything reminds of his beloved wife, is already unbearable, and Amper finally moves to Paris. By that time, he had already earned recognition for both his teaching ability and the talent of a researcher in mathematics. And so, in 1804 he enters the service at the Polytechnic School as “répétiteur”....

In 1809, Amper, despite the fact that he was self-taught, receives the title of professor, which in many respects contributed to his teaching reputation. This post he will occupy until 1828. Professor Amper even begins to read at the University of Paris lectures on philosophy and astronomy, in 1819 and 1820 respectively. Another turning point in his writings in the field of science is his admission to the Academy of Sciences in 1814.

Works in the field of electrodynamics

In September 1820, at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences, Ampere and his colleagues in the shop present the surprising discovery of the Danish physicist Hans Oersted in the field of electrodynamics. This discovery concerns the action exerted by the electric wire on the magnetized needle. This awakens, in turn, the curiosity of Ampere, who, continuing the experience, explores the interconnection of electricity and magnetism. Within two weeks he will publish the results of his experiments, showing that two parallel wires, through which an electric current flows, are mutually attracted if the current goes in one direction and mutually repel if the current goes in opposite directions. The discovery turns out to be revolutionary and will form the basis of the emerging electrodynamics. Ampere continues to experiment, and brings all the results to the weekly reports for the academy. Later they will be published in the work “Chronicle of Experiments in Chemistry and Physics”, which is considered the first work on electrodynamics. He will present the following scientific notes to the public in 1822. All research and the results of Ampere’s experiments are widely disseminated, and in 1826 his most significant work, The Scientific Essay on the Mathematical Theory of Electrodynamic Phenomena, is published. This publication was the source of many ideas of the XIX century regarding the interaction of electricity and magnetism. This work in their work guided by such scientists as Faraday, Weber, Thomson and Maxwell. In search of a suitable name for a new field of science, the term “electrodynamics” first appears. In 1827, Ampere was elected a foreign member of the Royal Society, and in 1828

Death and heritage

In the last years of his life, Amper suffered from mental disorders and disliked almost all knowledge, and to mathematics and other sciences in particular. June 10, 1836, in Marseilles, he was struck down by a fever that caused death. The name of Ampere, who entered the science as one of the founders of electromagnetism, was immortalized in 1881 by signing an international convention according to which a new unit of measurement of the electrical parameters “ampere” was established. Since then, the “ampere” is a common unit for measuring the strength of an electric current. The last work of the scientist, “Essai sur la philisophie des sciences”, was posthumously published by his son, Jean-Jacques Amper, who by that time had become a famous literary critic and writer.

Scientific works

“Mathematical theory of games”;

“Chronicle of experiments in chemistry and physics”;

“Scientific essay on the mathematical theory of electrodynamic phenomena”;

“A short essay on the philosophy of science.”

Biography of Andre-Marie Ampere