André-Marie Ampère

André-Marie Ampère  (January 20, 1775 to June 10, 1836)  Ampère is one of the principle architects of the theory of electromagnetism.  In 1823, he discovered the law that describes the magnetic force between two pieces of wire that are carrying electrical current, which became known as Ampère’s Law.  This is the fundamental force law for magnetostatics, analogous to (though more complicated than) Coulomb’s Law in electrostatics.  In honor of his epoch-making discovery, the most commonly used unit of electrical current is called the ampere (or “amp” for short). Ampère was a sincere and devout Catholic believer. He was a mentor of Bl. Frédéric Ozanam, the main founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, who stayed with the Ampère family for a period. The Catholic Encyclopedia relates the following:

“On the day of his wife's death he wrote two verses from the Psalms, and the prayer ‘O Lord, God of Mercy, unite me in heaven with those whom you have permitted me to love on earth.’. Serious doubts harassed him at times and made him very unhappy. Then he would take refuge in the reading of the Bible and the Fathers of the Church. ‘Doubt,’ he says in a letter to a friend, ‘is the greatest torment that a man suffers on earth.’”  

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