An important contributor to the establishment of a system of absolute units for the electrical sciences, which was beginning to become a very active area of research and development. Established a definition of electric current in an electromagnetic system based on the magnetic field produced by the current. He was politically active and, in fact, was dismissed from the faculty of the University of Gottingen for protesting the suppression of the constitution by the King of Hanover in 1837. However, he found other faculty positions and eventually returned to Gottingen as director of the astronomical observatory. Received honors from England, France, and Germany, including the Copley Medal of the Royal Society.