Scientist H.C. Ørsted (1777-1851)

Scientist H.C. Ørsted (1777-1851)

Hans Christian Ørsted was a Danish physicist and chemist, best known for his discovery of electromagnetism.

The discovery was made by chance on April 21, 1820. He was preparing for an evening lecture and developed an experiment which provided this new and very surprising evidence that an electric current produces a magnetic field as it flows through a wire. A few months later, he published his findings without which the history of mobile telephony, satelite TV or computer games wouldn't have been the same. 

Danes owe Ørsted a lot more than his discovery of electromagnetism. Typical of his time, he was also interested in the humanities, especially in literature and language. He was a close friend of Hans Christian Andersen, whose world fame he predicted, and he also actively contributed to the Danish language with thousands of new words, many of them still in use today. For instance, the Danish word for tide - tidevand - was coined by Ørsted.

Ørsted died in 1851. At that time, it was not considered suitable for women to attend funerals - it would only make them too emotional. Therefore, neither his wife nor his daughter followed his coffin to the grave in Assistens Cemetery. But they did join him later on.

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