The Life of George Simon Ohm

1787 - 1854

Although Georg Ohm discovered one of the most fundamental laws of current electricity, he was virtually ignored for most of his life by scientists in his own country - Germany.

While a child, Ohm's ambition was to become a scientist and to work at one of the great German Universities. Ohms' father was a mechanical engineer and taught him basic practical skills, that later proved useful.

Ohm's main interest was current electricity, recently advanced by Alessandro Volta's invention of the battery. He made his own metal wire, producing a range of thicknesses and lengths of remarkably consistent quality.

In 1827, he was able to show from his experiments that there was a simple relationship between resistance, current and voltage. Ohm was afraid that his purely experimental basis of his work would undermine the importance of his discovery. He tried to state his law theoretically and his rambling mathematical proofs made him an object of ridicule. He was criticized so strongly that he was forced to resign his teaching post.

In the years that followed, Ohm lived in poverty and isolation. In 1842, the Royal Society in London recognized the signifance of his discovery and admitted him as a member. In 1849, just five years before his death, Ohm's lifelong dream was realized when he was given a professorship at the University of Munich.