“Ampère, professor of mathematics at the Polytechnique, heard of Oersted’s discovery and immediately set up a series of experiments to determine the exact relationships of current-flow and magnetism. In a week Ampère presented the first of a series of papers establishing the laws of forces acting between conductors carrying currents.”
– Bern Dibner, Heralds of Science, 62
THE ORIGINS OF ELECTROMAGNETISM. AMPÈRE’S FIRST DISCUSSION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ELECTRIC CURRENT-FLOW AND MAGNETISM.
Ampère often worked by publishing his ideas chiefly in Annales de chimie et de physiques, at times as much as once a week. When he had further thoughts on the topic, he would publish revisions. The “first great memoir on electrodynamics”, the present paper is the seed of what would become a series of papers “establishing the laws of forces acting between conductors carrying current” (DSB, p. 144; Dibner, Heralds, 62). In this – the first appearance of Ampère’s discussion of electric current-flow as it relates to magnetism – Ampère effectively establishes a new field of science and paves the way for developments in electrodynamics.
In this volume (the original periodical publication), Ampère’s discussion begins on pp. 59–76 and continues on pp. 170–218.
AMPÈRE, ANDRÉ MARIE. “Mémoire … De l’Action mutuelle de deux courans électriques”. IN: Annales de chimie et de physiques, vol. 15. Paris: Crochard, 1820. pp. 59–76, 170–218. Octavo, later three quarter calf over early boards. 448 pp., 5 full-page plates by Adam Sculp including one fold-out plate. Some toning to extreme edge of text, very occasional light spotting, otherwise fine.
DSB: L. Pearce Williams, “Ampère, André-Marie”, Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 16 vols. (New York: Scribner’s, 1980), I: Pierre Abailard–L.S. Berg, pp. 139–147
Dibner, Bern, Heralds of Science (New York: Burndy Library and The Smithsonian Institute, 1980)
Norman, Jeremy M. and Diana H. Hook, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (San Francisco: Jeremy Norman, 1991).
Price: $3,300 .