DTU

In 2020, we celebrate H.C. Ørsted’s discovery of electromagnetism

Tuesday 11 Jun 19
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Gitte Lunde Andresen
Head of Stakeholder Management
Office for Innovation and Sector Services
+4545 25 11 96
Next year is the 200th anniversary of one of history’s major scientific discoveries. To celebrate, universities, institutions, companies, businesses, and organizations will collaborate on a national communication initiative.

The Dane H.C. Ørsted’s discovery of electromagnetism in 1820 forms the basis of the development of modern society. The discovery of the correlation between magnetism and electricity was, among other things, used to make electric motors and dynamos, which—like today’s wind turbines—convert mechanical wind energy into electrical energy. The discovery also formed the basis of other new discoveries, including the connection between electromagnetism and light.

This development is ongoing in 2020, where new discoveries on a par with those of H.C. Ørsted will help us solve global climate change. Today’s key challenges are, for example, to develop better batteries that will store the electricity we produce for a longer time and to establish a carbon-neutral energy production on an even larger scale.

Interdisciplinary heavyweight
H.C. Ørsted was interested in culture, politics and science. As a scientist, he focused on basic research with a multidisciplinary aim and he was active in fields such as didactics, philosophy, and the humanities. He wanted to prove the broader contexts in nature and society, and he also discovered the element aluminium.

"In 2020, we pay tribute to all the curious technology and science enthusiasts, who pursue technological and scientific breakthroughs that can help solve the planet’s many challenges, not least regarding energy and climate change."
Rasmus Larsen, Provost at DTU

He was a brilliant communicator as well, and in addition to his scientific achievements, he invented and introduced hundreds of new, Danish words, such as the words for butterfly, parachute, and density.

H.C. Ørsted was one of the first in Denmark to work on establishing study programmes within the natural sciences. And he led the establishment of the College of Advanced Technology—the current DTU—in order to utilize the natural and technical sciences for the benefit of society.

Nationwide celebration
The celebration of the 200th anniversary in 2020 will be a tribute to curiosity, and to that end, events, exhibitions, experiments, lessons, lectures, and debates will take place all over the country.
Rasmus Larsen, Chairman of the H.C. Ørsted 2020 Steering Committee and Executive Vice President at DTU says:

“In 2020, we pay tribute to all the curious technology and science enthusiasts in primary and secondary schools and at universities, who, like researchers and entrepreneurs in companies all over Denmark, pursue technological and scientific breakthroughs that can help solve the planet’s many challenges, not least regarding energy and climate change.”

The anniversary’s many activities and initiatives designed to promote technical and scientific education and training is supported by a number of Danish foundations. A comprehensive programme will be announced later in 2019.

Photo: Buro Jantzen
H.C. Ørsted ambassadors 
A large number of Danes with knowledge of and interest in the technical and natural sciences are ambassadors for the 2020 celebration of the discovery of electromagnetism. This includes, among others, Andreas Mogensen, astronaut from ESA, Mogens H. Jensen, President of the Royal Danish Society of Sciences and Letters, Bente Stallknecht, Executive Vice President of the University of Copenhagen, Thomas Damkjær Petersen, Chairman of the Danish Society of Engineers, Kim Fausing, President and CEO of Danfoss, Henrik Poulsen, Managing Director of the energy company Ørsted, and Bertel Haarder, Member of the Danish Parliament. Photo: Buro Jantzen