Hans Christian Ørsted was an international traveller, whose eight foreign journeys lasted for periods ranging from a single week to more than three years. Fortunately, his experiences and candid observations were recorded in letters home, often in the form of a journal intended for family and friends. While portions of these letters were published in heavily abridged form by his daughter Mathilde, they are presented in their entirety for the first time in the present edition. In an accompanying volume, the letters are published in their original form.
Taken as a whole, these documents provide a remarkably coherent chronicle of the personal and professional development of one of Denmark´s greatest scientists. In addition to providing insight regarding the events and attitudes which led to Ørsted's discovery of electromagnetism in 1820, his travel letters offer a reminder of the high level of international mobility and collaboration that characterised the physical sciences during the first half of the nineteenth century.