Physics Today, vol. 63, issue 10 (2010) p. 38
The interplay between electricity and magnetism has fascinated scientists and engineers for centuries, ever since Hans Christian Oersted noticed in 1820, quite by accident, that a magnetic compass needle deflected when he switched the current in a nearby battery on or off. Over the 40 years or so following Oersteds observation, the classical theory of electromagnetism was worked out, with seminal contributions from the likes of André Marie Ampère and Michael Faraday; that work culminated in the 1860s with James Maxwells unified theory. The implications of those discoveries for society need no elaboration. This article focuses on how electricity and magnetism interplay in a class of real materialsthe multiferroicsin which spontaneous magnetic and dielectric ordering occur.
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