In this authoritative biography, James Hofmann examines the extraordinary life of Andre-Marie Ampere, who made original, significant contributions to mathematics and chemistry and is rewned for his new branch of physics - electrodynamics. A member of the Academie des Sciences, and professor at the Ecole Polytechnique, his accomplishments are remarkable in view of his tragic personal life. One of the elite of early nineteenth-century Parisian science, yet having formal education, he embraced the scientific optimism of the Enlightenment, and the Catholic faith. This combination of intellectual expectation and emotional spirituality made Ampere's genius both destructive and extraordinarily creative. This, the only biography available in the English language, illuminates the scientific contributions of an individual and his epoch, and provides a fascinating insight into the workings of the scientific mind.