The New Student's Reference Work/Oersted, Hans Christian
Oer′sted (ẽr′stĕth), Hans Christian, a distinguished Danish physicist, who first discovered a connection between electricity and magnetism, was born on Aug. 14, 1777, and died at Copenhagen, March 9, 1851. He was educated in Copenhagen, where he took his doctor's degree in 1800, and in 1806 he was appointed to a professorship in physics. On July 21, 1820, he was passing the current of a large battery through a platinum wire, when he discovered that a magnetic needle near by was deflected. As shown by its consequences, this proved to be an epoch-making discovery, for which the Royal Society awarded him the Copley medal and the Paris Institute a mathematical prize amounting to 3,000 francs. See Ampère.