Hans Christian Orsted, Danish physicist, early 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraved portrait of Orsted (1777-1851) who in 1820 discovered the relationship between electricity and magnetism by setting up a very simple experiment; he demonstrated that a wire carrying a current could deviate a magnetised compas needle by ninety degrees. Whilst unable to suggest a satisfactory explanation for this phenomena, his discovery did bring about the study of electromagnetism by others. In 1825, he became the first person to produce aluminium by isolating it in a powdered form. Illustration from 'Die ElektricitAt im Dienste der Menschheit' (Electricity in the service of mankind) by Alfred Ritter von Urbanitzky (b 1852), published in Vienna in 1885.