Electromagnetic Induction (Encyclopedia of Science)
The term electromagnetic induction refers to the generation of an electric current by passing a metal wire through a magnetic field. The discovery of electromagnetic induction in 1831 was preceded a decade earlier by a related discovery by Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted (1777851). Oersted showed that an electric current produces a magnetic field. That is, if you place a simple magnetic compass near any of the electrical wires in your home that are carrying a current, you can detect a magnetic field around the wires. If an electric current can produce a magnetic field, physicists reasoned, perhaps the reverse effect could be observed as well. So they set out to generate an electric current from a magnetic field.
That effect was first observed in 1831 by English physicist Michael Faraday (1791867) and shortly thereafter by American physicist Joseph Henry (1797878). The principle on which the Faraday-Henry discovery is based is shown in the figure on page 762. A long piece of metal wire is wound around a metal bar. The two ends of the wire are connected to a galvanometer, an instrument used to measure electric current. The bar is then placed between the poles of a magnet.
(The entire section is 662 words.)
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