Ohm, Georg Simon

SUBJECT AREA: Electricity
b. 16 March 1789 Erlangen, near Nuremberg, Germany
d. 6 July 1854 Munich, Germany
German physicist who laid the foundations of electrical science with his discovery of Ohm's Law.
Given the same first name as his father, Johann, at his baptism, Ohm was generally known by the name of Georg to avoid confusion. While still a child he became interested in science and learned many of his basic skills from his father, a mechanical engineer. After basic education he attended the Gymnasium at Erlangen for a year, then in 1805 he entered the University of Erlangen. Probably for financial reasons, he left after three terms in 1806 and obtained a post as a mathematics tutor at a school in Gottstadt, Switzerland, where he may well have begun to experiment with electrical circuits. In 1811 he returned to Erlangen. He appears to have obtained his doctorate in the same year. After studying physics for a year, he became a tutor at the Studienanstalt (girls' secondary school) at Bamberg in Bavaria. There, in 1817, he wrote a book on the teaching of geometry in schools, as a result of which King Freidrich Wilhelm III of Prussia had him appointed Oberlehrer (Senior Master) in Mathematics and Physics at the Royal Consistory in Cologne. He continued his electrical experiments and in 1826 was given a year's leave of absence to concentrate on this work, which culminated the following year in publication of his "Die galvanische Kette", in which he demonstrated his now-famous Law, that the current in a resistor is proportional to the applied voltage and inversely proportional to the resistance. Because he published only a theoretical treatment of his Law, without including the supporting experimental evidence, his conclusions were widely ignored and ridiculed by the eminent German scientists of his day; bitterly disappointed, he was forced to resign his post at the Consistory. Reduced to comparative poverty he took a position as a mathematics teacher at the Berlin Military School. Fortunately, news of his discovery became more widely known, and in 1833 he was appointed Professor at the Nuremberg Polytechnic School. Two years later he was given the Chair of Higher Mathematics at the University of Erlangen and the position of State Inspector of Scientific Education. Honoured by the Royal Society of London in 1841 and 1842, in 1849 he became Professor of Physics at Munich University, apost he held until his death.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Royal Society Copley Medal 1841. FRS 1842.
1817, "Grundlinien zu einer zweckmàssigen Behandlung der Geometric als hohern Bildungsmittels an vorbereitenden Lehranstalt".
1827, "Die galvanische Kette, mathematische bearbeit".
Further Reading
F.E.Terman, 1943, Radio Engineers' Handbook, New York: McGraw-Hill, Section 3 (for circuit theory based on Ohm's Law).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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