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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

| 1808 | 1808 Sonorous Figures

| 1808 | 1808 Sonorous Figures

(p.207) 21 | 1808 Sonorous Figures
Hans Christian Ørsted

Dan C. Christensen

Oxford University Press

On his first grand tour Ørsted had been presented with Chladni's book on sonorous figures, and when he came back he started experimenting on them. When invited to parties with the elite he would entertain the guests by bowing copperplates strewn with lycopodium and enjoy their surprised faces when gradually the regular sonorous figures emerged. In the beginning of this chapter the history of Chladni's career as a musician and physicist is outlined. Then Ørsted's experiments are explained. They differed from Chladni's in two ways. First, Ørsted used lycopodium instead of the coarser sand thereby slowing down the formation of the figures in order to better observe them. Second, he reproduced the figures by Lichterberg's method of copying electrical figures. In the beginning Ørsted believed electricity caused the formation of secondary oscillations, and hence he saw them as part of his dynamical project. Finally, Wheatstone's and Faraday's later experiments with acoustic figures are touched upon.

Keywords:   sonorous figures, Ørsted's experiments, Chladni, Lichtenberg, Wheatstone, Faraday

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