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The reception in the Netherlands of the discoveries of electromagnetism and electrodynamics (1820–1822)

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On 17 November 1820 there appeared a Dutch translation of Oersted's pamphlet concerning the discovery of the effect of an electric current on a magnetic needle suspended in the earth's magnetic field (published on 21 July 1820). In the Netherlands a number of physicists (A. van Beek, J. Nieuwenhuis, J. P. Kuenen Jr., S. Speyert van der Eyk, and others) were immediately interested in the electromagnetic and electrodynamic discoveries made by Oersted and the French physicists. They repeated and extended the experiments, and constructed new modifications of the galvanic battery for better results. They made no fundamental discoveries in this field of physics, but the fact that their work was important follows from the experiments of van Beek, which confirmed Amp`ere's theory of molecular magnetic currents. Van Beek as well as Speyert van der Eyk corresponded with Amp`ere about electromagnetic and electrodynamic phenomena. In the Utrecht Universiteitsmuseum there is an unpublished letter of Amp`ere to van Beek, which is published at the end of this article.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute for the History of Science, University of Utrecht, Janskerkhof 30, Utrecht, 2501, The Netherlands

Publication date: 1975-01-01

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