Physicist and Mathematician. Born in Lyon, France, the son of Jeanne Antoinette Desutières-Sarcey and Jean-Jacques Ampère, a successful merchant. Though his education was informal, he taught himself from studying the volumes of his father's library, and was tutored in advanced mathematics at age 12. After the onset of the French Revolution, Ampère senior was appointed a justice of the peace by the new revolutionary government, but when extremists seized control in 1792, he resisted the new regime, and he was guillotined in 1793, devastating his son who withdrew from his education for more than a year. He took a job as a mathematics teacher in 1799, and in 1802 was appointed a professor of physics and chemistry at the École Centrale in Bourg-en-Bresse where he wrote the treatise, Considérations sur la théorie mathématique de jeu (“Considerations on the Mathematical Theory of Games”). In 1803, he moved to Paris, where he took a tutoring position at the École Polytechnique. The following year, he co-founded the Société Chrétienne (Christian Society). He was appointed a professor of mathematics in 1809. In 1810, he theorized the existence of the element Fluorine and coined its name. In 1814, he became a mathematician in the new Institut Impériale where in 1820 he began working with Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted's experiments in magnetism, making his own variations, and concluded that an electric current created magnetism and then proceeded to execute a series of experiments to determine what kinds of magnetic effects were produced, and concluded that all magnetism is a result of electricity in motion, establishing the principle that came to be called Ampère Law, which states that the mutual action of two lengths of current-carrying wire is proportional to their lengths and to the intensities of their currents. To explain the relationship between electricity and magnetism, he theorized the existence of a particle; the 'electrodynamic molecule,' or in modern terms, an electron. In 1824, he was appointed to the Chair of Experimental Physics at the Collège de France in Paris. In 1827,he published his studies in Mémoire sur la théorie mathématique des phénomènes électrodynamiques uniquement déduite de l’experience (“Memoir on the Mathematical Theory of Electrodynamic Phenomena, Uniquely Deduced from Experience”). The work coined the name of this new science – electrodynamics. He also invented and named the solenoid. At the age of 61, after years of failing health, he contracted pneumonia and died in Marseilles. The SI unit for electric current, the ampere or amp, named in his honor. His name is one of 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower.
Bio by: Iola
Jean-Jacques Antoine Ampère