Georg Simon Ohm. 16 March, 1789 – July 6, 1854. Famous German physicist. Found and proved the law that demonstrates a proportionality between the current in the circuit, voltage and resistance.


Life and Work:

1. It is easy to imagine a person who does not know Parkinson's law. And it is absolutely impossible to imagine such an individual who does not know that the current flowing in a circuit is directly proportional to the applied voltage and inversely proportional to the resistance of the circuit. Humanity owes this simple relation to Georg Simon Ohm, the son of a locksmith from the German city of Erlangen.


2. Georg's mother died in childbirth when they boy was only 10. His father was poor but passionate about science and he was a fairly educated man for his simple rank. Both of the locksmith's sons became professors: Georg became a physicist and Martin, a mathematician.


3. Georg's path to becoming a professor was long and winding and lay through many years of teaching at school, because the pay was better than what a privat-docent could earn. A Doctor of Philosophy, Ohm worked as a school teacher of mathematics and physics, and gradually, physics won him over.


4. At the Jesuit Gymnasium of Cologne, Ohm discovered a large collection of instruments and found time to engage in pure science. He was particularly interested in the little-studied electricity: in this area, Georg Ohm sensed that he found a path on which he could never be outpaced by competitors.


5. One would wonder, what could be easier than to divide voltage by resistance. But it only seems easy with today's wealth of knowledge. Back at that time, almost 200 years ago, in the 1820s, the concept of “resistance” was completely unknown. Natural philosophers explained electrical phenomena by the love and hatred of some unknown particles, and the idea of describing physics through mathematics was regarded a blasphemy. Experiments were met with scorn.


6. Ohm correctly sensed that he first needed to quantify the physical phenomenon. The accuracy of his measurement was hindered by the current source: the galvanic battery could not produce a stable current. To improve the accuracy, Georg Ohm constructed a device that had, at one end, a pot of boiling water, and at another, melting snow. The bismuth-copper thermocouple provided the electricity he needed.


7. The work of Georg Simon Ohm culminated in a publication of his Determination of the Law according to Which Metals Conduct Contact-electricity in the German Journal für Chemie und Physik, followed by his seminal work The Galvanic Circuit Investigated Mathematically.


8. If you think that the humankind amply rewarded the pioneer for his discovery during his lifetime, you are mistaken. In reaction to his publication of the work that contained a formula, Ohm was dismissed from his teaching position. This was ordered by the Minister of Education, who was convinced that it was a heresy to describe physics through formulas.


9. Georg Simon Ohm was assisted by the Russian physicists E. H. Lentz and B. S. Jacobi. They brought the mystery of nature discovered by Ohm into the world of science. The world appreciated the discovery: Ohm was accepted into the Royal Society of London and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities and was invited to Munich to the position of a professor.


10. What was there beyond the Law? His work in acoustics, also not immediately accepted and confirmed by Helmholtz later, a lonely life without a family, completely devoted to science and teaching.


11. True recognition found Ohm much later: in 1881, the International Electrical Congress in Paris adopted ohm as the name for a unit of electrical resistance. Its symbol is the Greek letter omega.


12. The letter omega is inscribed on Ohm's monument in Munich. And that is true: Ohm's Law is the omega, if not the alpha of classical physics.