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Hans Christian ØrstedReading Nature's Mind$
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Dan Ch. Christensen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669264

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669264.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 October 2020

| 1802–03 | 1802–03 Ritter and the Napoleon Prize

| 1802–03 | 1802–03 Ritter and the Napoleon Prize

(p.147) 15 | 1802–03 Ritter and the Napoleon Prize
Hans Christian Ørsted

Dan C. Christensen

Oxford University Press

Volta's demonstration of his pile in front of the First Consul prompted the institution of the so-called Napoleon Prize awarding 60,000 Francs to a scientist advancing the galvanic science with a breakthrough equal to the inventions by Franklin and Volta. A commission chaired by Biot, mathematician and an ardent adherent of the corpuscular theory, was set up, and Ørsted began to consider Ritter and himself potential candidates. Ritter cast a horoscope concluding that no epoch-making discovery was likely until 1819–20. Still, Ørsted submitted reports on Ritter's galvanic achievements, and when Ritter informed Ørsted of his invention of the galvanic accumulator that did the same for a voltaic pile as the Leyden jar did for the electrostatic generator. Before Ørsted's demonstration in front of the commission Ritter informed his friend of another experiment allegedly proving the galvanic polarity of the earth. Since Ørsted failed to reproduce this last experiment, the Napoleon Prize evaporated.

Keywords:   Ritter, Napoleon Prize, Biot, horoscope, accumulator, the earth analogous to a galvanic battery, Journal de la Physique et Chimie

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