Hans Christian Oersted Biography

Hans Christian Oersted was an Physicist and Chemist. Read on to know more about Hans Christian Oersted’s profile, childhood, life and timeline in this biography.

Hans Christian Oersted

Quick Facts

Gender: Male
Birthday: 14 August 1777
Died: 09 March 1851
Nationality: Danish
Sun Sign: Leo
Siblings: Anders Sandøe Ørsted
Education: University of Copenhagen
Awards: Copley Medal, Pour le Mérite for Sciences and Arts, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foreign Member of the Royal Society

Hans Christian Oersted was a Danish physicist and chemist well-known for his great studies in electromagnetism. His discovery, that electric currents create magnetic fields was revolutionary. He also contributed to the development of post-Kantian philosophy and greatly towards the advancement of science. He also founded a society namely Selskabet for Naturlærens Udbredelse (SNU), with a vision of propagating science an related subjects. The famous institutes of science, the Danish Meteorological Institute and the Danish Patent and Trademark Office owe to Oersted for its realization and establishment. The world of science respected him by naming the cgs unit of magnetic H-field strength by his name, Oersted (Oe).

Early Life & Career

Oersted was born in Rudkøbing, Denmark, on 14 August 1777. His father owned a pharmacy and Oersted used to help his father. Both Oersted and his brother were largely self-educated, taking their education at home. Oersted showed an interest in science even in his early ages. Both Oersted and his brother went to Copenhagen in 1793, gave entrance examinations for the University of Copenhagen and both of them excelled academically. In 1796 Oersted received honors for his papers in both aesthetics and physics. He conducted research studies and wrote a thesis titled "The Architectonics of Natural Metaphysics", thus receiving his Doctorate degree. He also received a travel scholarship in 1801. This helped him in spending three years travelling across Europe.
It was on 21 April 1820, during a lecture, that he circumstantially noticed a deflection in the compass needle when he switched on and off an electric current from a battery. Surprised with this, Oersted started reaching about the relation between electricity and magnetism. Initially, he interpreted that magnetic effects radiate from all sides of a wire carrying an electric current, just like the case of light and heat. After in-depth research he found that electric current produces a circular magnetic field while flowing through a wire. His contributions were not confined just to physics, but to other related domains like Chemistry as well. In 1825, Oersted isolated aluminium from aluminium chloride, thus becoming the first person to isolate the metal.
Oersted took his last breath on 9 March 1851 at Copenhagen. He was buried in the Assistens Cemetery, Copenhagen.

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Hans Christian Oersted Biography


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Last Updated

June 10, 2019

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