Hans Christian 1777-1851
Danish physicist who is credited as the founder of the science of electromagnetism. Oersted established the connection between electric current and magnetic force when he accidentally discovered that a compass's magnetic needle is deflected at right angles when placed next to a conductor carrying an electric current. The oersted unit of magnetic field strength is named after him.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.