French physicist and mathematician André-Marie Ampère (1775–1836) was one of the first scientists to study electromagnetism. His work followed the discovery made in 1820 by Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted that a magnetic needle is deflected by an adjacent electric current. Ampère found that two parallel wires carrying electric currents attract or repel each other, depending on whether the currents flow in the same direction (attracting) or opposite direction (repelling). He then devised a mathematical theory, which came to be called Ampère’s Law, to describe the basic relationship between electricity and magnetism. The SI unit of measurement of electric current—the rate at which electric charge flows round a circuit—the ampere (A), (amp for short), is named after him.
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