Oersted—the Discoverer of Electro-magnetism1


ON July 21, 1820, Hans Christian Oersted, of Copenhagen, announced his great discovery to the world in a circular letter in Latin, “Experi-menta circa effectione conflictus electric! in acum magneticam.” He describes in detail the apparatus he employed, emphasising the fact that “the galvanic circle must be complete, and not open, which last method was tried in vain some years ago by very celebrated philosophers,” gives a list of distinguished men who had witnessed the new effect, and then writes:—


  1. 1

    "Scientific Life and Works of H. C. Oersted”. By Kirstine Meyer . (From H. C. Oersted: "Scientific Papers”, vol. i.) Edited by the Royal Danish Society of Sciences. Pp. clxvi. (Copenhagen: Andr. Fred. Høst and Son, 1920).

  2. 2

    Thomson's "Annals of Philosophy”, vol. xvi. (1820), translated from a Latin account lent by the author.

  3. 3

    "Edinburgh Encyclopædia”, vol. xviii. (1830).

Download references

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

G., R. Oersted—the Discoverer of Electro-magnetism1. Nature 107, 492–495 (1921). https://doi.org/10.1038/107492a0

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.