Famous Catholic Scientists

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The names for three different kinds of electrical measure: amps, volts, and coulombs, come from the surnames of three Catholic scientists who were each pioneers in their respected fields. André Marie Ampere was a French mathematician, chemist, and physicist. His experiments quantified the relationship between the electrical current and the magnetic field. It was Ampere’s devotion at daily Mass that inspired a young Frédéric Ozanam to devote himself more earnestly to his Catholic Faith. Ozanam was going through a period of doubt and, while visiting a church in Paris, he saw the great scientist praying fervently before the altar. He found Ampere there again the next day. Soon he struck up a friendship with the scientist and even lived with his family for over a year. When he was only twenty years old Ozanam founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He was beatified by John Paul II in 1997. Alessandro Volta was an Italian physicist who discovered the electric pile. He was expert in the field of electrical pressure. The units of electric potential (volts) and the alternate name of the quantity (voltage) are named after him. Charles Coulomb was a French engineer and physicist who published the laws of electrostatics between 1785 and 1791. His name is associated with the units of electrical quantity or charge. (Most of this information was found in Michael Foley’s book, Why Do Catholics Eat Fish On Friday.)

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