1802 Andre-Marie Ampere Autograph Letter Signed (observations on "a new planet")
Influential French physicist (1775–1836) who pioneered the discovery and understanding of electromagnetism; a unit of electric current was named in his honor. ALS in French, signed “A. Ampere,” four pages on two adjoining sheets, 6.5 x 8.25, no date but circa 1802. Letter to Mr. Couppier de Viry in Lyon, containing the calculations and observations he has to identify the position of the new planet, for example: "dist. mean: 2, 7677, eccentricity: 0, 0791, inclination: 10°, 37', 4''." He notes (translated): "Here is my dear friend all I know about this new planet, which does not seem to me harder than Herschell to find in the sky." Ampere probably refers to the planet Uranus discovered in 1781 by William Herschel. He then recounts his astronomy class and his research in botany before talking about his wife, Julie Carron, whom he married in 1799: "I hope that the absence does not prevent you from thinking sometimes about who will be always your best friend, and who wishes you all the happiness possible and the time to write to him, because nothing can make him more pleasure after the letters of Julie." In good condition, with staining, some edge tears, and an area of paper loss affecting several lines of text; the bold signature is clean and completely unaffected by any flaws. In 1802, Ampere left Lyon where he taught mathematics, to become a professor of physics and chemistry at the Ecole Centrale de Bourg-en-Bresse. An exceptionally rare letter from the gifted physicist.