André-Marie Ampère: Enlightenment and Electrodynamics

André-Marie Ampère: Enlightenment and Electrodynamics
  • Book
  • 406 pages
  • Level: university

This 1995 biography of André-Marie Ampère is written by James R. Hofmann and published by Cambridge University Press.  Ampère conducted pioneering studies of electricity, among other things (the unit of electrical current, the “Ampere” or “Amp” is named in his honor). This biography treats his scientific work in considerable detail. Ampère was Catholic, and he both valued his faith and also struggled with it at times. From a journal entry by Ampère after his final conversion (or reversion) to Catholicism:

God has revealed to me what my eternal salvation depends upon. Could I ever forget it? Great Saint Joseph, to whose intercession above all I owe this grace, Saint Mary, mother of God, whose name I received at my baptism and to whom I also have this inexpressible gift, always intercede before God that he may conserve it for me and that I might make myself worthy of it!

From the publisher:

In this authoritative biography, James Hofmann examines the extraordinary life of André-Marie Ampère, who made original, significant contributions to mathematics and chemistry and is renowned for his new branch of physics – electrodynamics. A member of the Académie des Sciences, and professor at the École Polytechnique, his accomplishments are remarkable in view of his tragic personal life. One of the elite of early nineteenth-century Parisian science, yet having no formal education, he embraced the scientific optimism of the Enlightenment, and the Catholic faith. This combination of intellectual expectation and emotional spirituality made Ampère’s genius both destructive and extraordinarily creative. This, the only biography available in the English language, illuminates the scientific contributions of an individual and his epoch, and provides a fascinating insight into the workings of the scientific mind.

Click here for more information from the publisher, Cambridge University Press.

Click here for a preview, courtesy of Google Books.

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