|André-Marie Ampère's father, Jean-Jacques Ampère, was a prosperous man who owned a home in Lyon and a country house in Poleymieux, which is only 10 km from Lyon. Up till André-Marie was seven years old the family spent most of the year in Lyon except the summer months which were spent at Poleymieux. However, in 1782, the home at Poleymieux became their main residence since André-Marie's father wished to spend more time on his son's education. Only a short time in winter was spent at Lyon where André-Marie's father saw to his business interests.
While Ampère was in Bourg he spent much time teaching physics and chemistry but his research was in mathematics. This research resulted in him composing a treatise on probability, The Mathematical Theory of Games, which he submitted to the Paris Academy in 1803. Laplace noticed an error, explaining the error to Ampère in a letter, which Ampère was able to correct and the treatise was reprinted. In fact the treatise was modified a number of times and Ampère was reluctant to call it completed for fear that further changes might be required. This work was followed by one on the calculus of variations in 1803. Although a mathematics professor, his interests included, in addition to mathematics, metaphysics, physics and chemistry. In mathematics he worked on partial differential equations, producing a classification which he presented to the Institut in 1814.
This seems to have been a crucial step in his election to the Institut National des Sciences in November 1814 when he defeated Cauchy, receiving 28 of the 56 votes cast. Ampère was also making significant contributions to chemistry. In 1811 he suggested that an anhydrous acid prepared two years earlier was a compound of hydrogen with an unknown element, analogous to chlorine, for which he suggested the name fluorine. After concentrating on mathematics as he sought admission to the Institut, Ampère returned to chemistry after his election in 1814 and produced a classification of elements in 1816. Ampère also worked on the theory of light, publishing on refraction of light in 1815. By 1816 he was a strong advocate of a wave theory of light, agreeing with Fresnel and opposed to Biot and Laplace who advocated a corpuscular theory. Fresnel became a good friend of Ampère's and lodged at Ampère's home from 1822 until his death in 1827. In the early 1820s, Ampère attempted to give a combined theory of electricity and magnetism after hearing about experimental results by the Danish physicist Hans Christian Orsted. Ampère formulated a circuit force law and treated magnetism by postulating small closed circuits inside the magnetised substance.