Georg Simon Ohm

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Created by: Team Physics -, Last Updated: April 25, 2024

Georg Simon Ohm

Who is Georg Simon Ohm?

Georg Simon Ohm was born on March 16, 1789, and deceased on July 6, 1854, was a renowned German physicist and scientist. He made significant contributions to the field of physics, particularly through his research on electrical circuits. His most famous discovery, Ohm’s Law, explains how voltage, current, and resistance interrelate in an electrical circuit. This law is fundamental to understanding how electrical circuits function and is widely taught in physics education around the world. Ohm’s work laid the groundwork for advancements in electrical engineering and electronics.

Georg Simon Ohm Early Life and Education

Early Life

Georg Simon Ohm was born in Erlangen, Bavaria, Germany, in a humble family. His father, a self-taught locksmith, played a crucial role in his early education. Despite limited formal schooling, Georg demonstrated a strong aptitude for mathematics and science from a young age. His curiosity and diligence set the stage for his later academic pursuits in the field of physics.


Erlangen Gymnasium

Ohm began his formal education at Erlangen Gymnasium, a local high school, where he excelled in his studies. The rigorous curriculum focused on classical education but also allowed Georg to explore his interest in mathematics and physics. His performance here earned him a spot at the University of Erlangen.

University of Erlangen

Georg Simon Ohm entered the University of Erlangen in 1805. Here, he dove deeply into the world of physics and mathematics. Despite facing financial challenges that forced him to withdraw temporarily and work as a private tutor, Ohm returned to his studies with renewed vigor. His time at the university was marked by intense self-study and research, which helped him develop the foundational ideas for his later discoveries.

Swiss School

In 1809, Ohm moved to Switzerland where he took a position as a mathematics teacher at Gottstadt bei Nydau. This period was crucial as it provided him with the opportunity to apply his theoretical knowledge in a practical teaching context. His experiences here further shaped his approach to research and education in physics, setting him on the path to his groundbreaking work on electrical resistance.

Discovery of Ohm’s Law

n the early 1820s, Georg Simon Ohm began his groundbreaking work on the relationship between electricity and resistance, which led to the formulation of Ohm’s Law. At the time, the understanding of electrical circuits was not well developed, and Ohm aimed to clarify how voltage, current, and resistance interact within a circuit.

Experimentation and Analysis

Ohm conducted meticulous experiments using a galvanometer, various lengths of wire, and different materials to observe how they affected electrical flow. He systematically varied the length and cross-sectional area of the wires while measuring the voltage and current that passed through them. His detailed approach allowed him to observe patterns in how changes in resistance impacted current flow.

Formulation of Ohm’s Law

Through his experiments, Ohm discovered that the current flowing through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the voltage across the two points and inversely proportional to the resistance between them. This relationship is encapsulated in the formula ๐‘‰=๐ผ๐‘…V=IR, where ๐‘‰ is the voltage, ๐ผ is the current, and R is the resistance.

Publication and Impact

Ohm published his findings in 1827 in a book titled “The Galvanic Circuit Investigated Mathematically”. While his work initially faced skepticism, it gradually gained recognition and formed the basis for analyzing electrical circuits. Today, Ohm’s Law is a fundamental principle in the field of physics and essential for understanding and designing electrical systems. The law not only enhanced the study of electromagnetism but also significantly advanced the development of technology related to electricity.

Georg Simon Ohm Discoveries and Inventions

Ohm’s Law

The most notable of Georg Simon Ohm’s contributions is Ohm’s Law, discovered in 1827. This law states that the current flowing through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the voltage across these two points and inversely proportional to the resistance. It revolutionized the understanding and design of electrical circuits by providing a simple equation, ๐‘‰=๐ผ๐‘…V=IR, to calculate the variables involved.

The Ohmic Resistor

Building on his research, Ohm conceptualized and demonstrated the behavior of what we now call “ohmic resistors”โ€”components that have a constant resistance over a range of voltages and temperatures. This concept is integral to the design of electrical circuits, ensuring predictable and stable performance.

Acoustic Law

In addition to his electrical theories, Ohm also formulated an acoustic principle known as Ohm’s Acoustic Law. This law posits that a musical sound is perceived by the ear as a set of harmonic tones. This understanding influenced the fields of music theory and acoustics by clarifying how sounds are interpreted by humans.

Contributions to Electromagnetism

Ohm’s investigations extended into electromagnetism, where he studied the magnetic effects of electric currents. His work laid foundational knowledge for later scientists to build upon, contributing to the eventual development of electromagnetic technology.

Pioneering Techniques in Electrical Measurement

Ohm’s methods in measuring electrical resistance were innovative for his time and laid the groundwork for future techniques in electrical measurement. His approach to using a galvanometer and a steady current source helped standardize measurements in electrical experiments, influencing how later experiments in electromagnetism were conducted.

Influence on Network Theory

Ohm’s principles were later generalized into what is now known as network theory, which is used to analyze complex electrical networks. By applying Ohm’s Law and Kirchhoff’s rules, engineers and scientists can predict how currents will flow in networks, which is essential for designing everything from simple circuits to entire power grids.

Georg Simon Ohm Awards and Honors

  1. Copley Medal: The Royal Society in London awarded Georg Simon Ohm the Copley Medal in 1841 for his significant contributions to physics.
  2. Ohm (crater): A lunar crater, named “Ohm,” honors his impact on science. Located on the far side of the Moon, this crater serves as a tribute to his legacy.
  3. Ohm’s Name in SI Units: The International System of Units (SI) names the unit of electrical resistance “ohm” in his honor, symbolized as ฮฉ.
  4. Ohm’s Law Memorial: In Munich, Germany, a memorial dedicated to Ohm celebrates his life and achievements. It features a portrait and the formula ๐‘‰=๐ผ๐‘…V=IR.
  5. Georg Simon Ohm University of Applied Sciences: Named in his honor, this Nuremberg university reflects his lasting influence on education and research in applied sciences.
  6. Georg-Simon-Ohm-Preis: The German Association of Electrical Engineers presents this award for outstanding contributions to electrical engineering technology, celebrating his pioneering work.
  7. Ohm Avenue: Named “OhmstraรŸe,” streets in several German cities commemorate his contributions to the scientific community.

Georg Simon Ohm Death

Hepassed away on July 6, 1854, in Munich, Germany. At the time of his death, he was a professor at the University of Munich. Despite facing challenges in gaining recognition during his lifetime. His pioneering contributions to the field of physics, especially his formulation of Ohm’s Law, have left a lasting legacy. Ohm died from natural causes, and his groundbreaking work has continued to influence the study and application of electricity long after his passing.


What is the theory of Ohm?

The theory of Ohm, known as Ohm’s Law, states that the current through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the voltage across the two points.

What was Ohm famous for?

Ohm was famous for formulating Ohm’s Law, which defines the relationship between voltage, current, and resistance in electrical circuits.

What award did Ohm receive in 1841?

In 1841, Georg Simon Ohm received the prestigious Copley Medal for his formulation of Ohm’s Law, recognizing his significant contributions to the field of physics.

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