**Andre Marie Ampere**

Andre-Marie Ampere was a
French Physicist, Mathematician, Chemist and Philosopher, best known for his
work in Electrodynamics. The unit of electric current, Ampere, bears his name.
He was born on
the 20th of January,1775 at Poleymieux in France, sixteen miles away from the city of
Lyon. Andre-Marie's father was a successful businessman in Lyon. In 1782, he decided to spend
more time on Ampere’s education by taking some time off from his business. It
was during this time that his father inspired in him a thirst for knowledge. He mentions
in his autobiographical writings, that his father, instead of forcing him
to stick to a specific curriculum “knew how to inspire in him a desire to
know." At an early age Ampere completed reading all the articles in the *L’Encyclopedie*
in alphabetical order, and there are reports that even much later in life he was
capable of recalling them from memory successfully.
Ampere's interest in Mathematics
grew from a very tender age. At thirteen, he was writing a
treatise on conic sections, and had already submitted a paper to the * Academie de
Lyon*.
However, due to his lack of exposure to other contemporary mathematicians and
advancements made in research, Ampere’s work was
rejected. This inspired him to study Calculus and further his knowledge in the
field of mathematics.

**Ampere’s Contributions to Mathematics**

Starting in 1797 till 1802,
Ampere tutored in mathematics. In 1802, Ampere was appointed professor of
Physics and Chemistry at the * Bourge Ecole Centrale*. Even though he spent most of his time
instructing Physics and Chemistry, his research interests lay in the
field of Mathematics. In 1803, the Paris Academy published work from his
preliminary research efforts the *
Mathematical Theory of Games*. There were
several editions of this work, each with a set of corrections. His next
publication dealt with the Calculus of Variations, and was published in the same
year.
By then Ampere had got a fairly
good reputation for his contributions to the field of Mathematics and in 1804,
he was appointed a *repetiteur*, in analysis at the Ecole Polytechnique.
Considering his lack of formal education, this indeed a great achievement. He was
appointed Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1809. In 1826 he was appointed chair at the Universite de
France, a post he
retained till his death in 1828. Meanwhile his achievements had also been
noticed by Napoleon, who appointed him Inspector-General of the newly created
university system. During his stay at the Ecole Polytechnique he worked in
close contact with Augustin-Louis Cauchy. Ampere shared the load of teaching the topics of
mechanics and analysis with
him. Ampere's conceptual approach
to dealing with these topics was in sharp comparison to Cauchy’s rather
rigorous approach and made him more popular with the students.
While
at Paris, Ampere worked in developing a classification of partial differential
equations, that he presented to the Instut des Sciences in 1814. The success of
this work was crucial in his election over Cauchy, in 1814 to the Instut des
Sciences.

**Ampere’s Contributions to Physics and Chemistry**

While making giant strides in the field of Mathematics, Ampere also made important
contributions to the field of Chemistry. After getting admitted to the Instut in
1814, Ampere developed a classification of the elements in 1816. He was also
involved in the development of the theory of light. He subscribed to the wave
theory of light and was against the corpuscular theory.
The
work done by Ampere in the field of Electromagnetism was his greatest
contribution. In
September 1820 a Danish scientist named Hans Christian Orsted produced some
experimental results in the field of magnetism. Ampere reacted quickly to the
discovery and by the end of September he had discovered electrodynamical forces
between linear current conductors. He also realized that the deflection of a
compass needle caused by an electric current flowing through it could be used to
measure the magnitude of the current. This concept led to the development of the
galvanometer. He presented his discoveries to the Academy in November 1820, and
published his work in the *Annales de Chimie et de Physique*. In 1826, Ampere’s
seminal work in the field of electromagnetism culminated in the publication, of the *Memoir
on the Mathematical Theory of Electrodynamic Phenomena, Uniquely Deduced from
Experience. *It included a rigorous mathematical derivation of the
electrodynamic force law and was substantiated by four experiments.

**Ampere’s Personal Life**

Ampere’s personal life was rather tragic. The French Revolution which started in 1789,
greatly influenced his teenage years. In 1793, when the Republican army captured
Lyons, Ampere's father a wealthy city official was sent to the guillotine. This had a devastating effect on Ampere, and he gave up
his studies for eighteen months
to cope with the trauma.
Things
improved when he met Julie and was engaged to marry her in 1797. However, soon after,
their marriage Julie died in 1803. He remarried
in 1806, but the consequences were barely pleasant, resulting in a separation in
less than a year. Ampere never recovered completely from these
personal tragedies and the epitaph he choose for his gravestone says Tandem
Felix ('Happy at last').