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Fascinating facts about Michael Faraday inventor of the electric motor, the dynamo, the transformer, and the generator. Michael Faraday
Inventor: Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday image  Vaunt Design Group
Criteria: First to invent. First practical.
Birth: September 22, 1791 in Newington, Surrey, England
Death: August 25, 1867 in  Hampton Court, Surrey, England
Nationality: British
Michael Faeaday, British physicist and chemist, best known for his discoveries of electromagnetic induction and of the laws of electrolysis.

Faraday was born on September 22, 1791, in Newington, Surrey, England. He was the son of a blacksmith and received little formal education. While apprenticed to a bookbinder in London, he read books on scientific subjects and experimented with electricity. In 1812 he attended a series of lectures given by the British chemist Sir Humphry Davy and forwarded the notes he took at these lectures to Davy, together with a request for employment. Davy employed Faraday as an assistant in his chemical laboratory at the Royal Institution and in 1813 took Faraday with him on an extended tour of Europe. Faraday was elected to the Royal Society in 1824 and the following year was appointed director of the laboratory of the Royal Institution. In 1833 he succeeded Davy as professor of chemistry at the institution. Two years later he was given a pension of 300 pounds per year for life. Faraday was the recipient of many scientific honors, including the Royal and Rumford medals of the Royal Society; he was also offered the presidency of the society but declined the honor. He died on August 25, 1867, near Hampton Court, Surrey.

Faraday's earliest researches were in the field of chemistry, following the lead of Davy. A study of chlorine, which Faraday included in his researches, led to the discovery of two new chlorides of carbon. He also discovered benzene. Faraday investigated a number of new varieties of optical glass. In a series of experiments he was successful in liquefying a number of common gases.

The research that established Faraday as the foremost experimental scientist of his day was, however, in the fields of electricity and magnetism. In 1821 he plotted the magnetic field around a conductor carrying an electric current; the existence of the magnetic field had first been observed by the Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted in 1819. In 1831 Faraday followed this accomplishment with the discovery of electromagnetic induction and in the same year demonstrated the induction of one electric current by another. During this same period of research he investigated the phenomena of electrolysis and discovered two fundamental laws: that the amount of chemical action produced by an electrical current in an electrolyte is proportional to the amount of electricity passing through the electrolyte; and that the amount of a substance deposited from an electrolyte by the action of a current is proportional to the chemical equivalent weight of the substance. Faraday also established the principle that different dielectric substances have different specific inductive capacities.

In experimenting with magnetism, Faraday made two discoveries of great importance; one was the existence of diamagnetism, and the other was the fact that a magnetic field has the power to rotate the plane of polarized light passing through certain types of glass.


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Michael Faraday Father of Electronics
by Charles Ludwig / Paperback (May 1988) / Herald Pr
Ludwig retells Michael Faraday's remarkable life story in fictionalized form, presenting the man who invented the electric motor, the dynamo, the transformer, and the generator.
The Philosopher's Tree: A Selection of Michael Faraday's Writings Compiled
by Michael Faraday, Peter Day (Compiler) / Paperback - 212 pages / Inst of Physics Pub (1999)
An attractive collection that serves well as an introduction to this extraordinary man.
Michael Faraday
by Geoffrey Cantor, David Gooding / Paperback (October 1996) / Humanity Books
This biography follows his early life and career, his role in the Royal Institution and in civic and military science, and his influence on science and engineering.
The Forces of Matter
by Michael Faraday / Paperback - 88 pages (May 1993) / Prometheus Books
Certainly a true classic. This book will appeal to both the layman and the technically inclined.
Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism
by James Clerk Maxwell / Paperback 3rd edition (January 1991) / Dover Pubns
This volume covers magnetism and electromagnetism.

Royal Institution of Great Britian
A complete edition of Faraday's approximately 4800 extant letters is being published under the editorship of Frank James at the Royal Institution. Brief overviews of each volume are given.
A True Pioneer of Scientific Discovery
His discoveries have had an incalculable effect on subsequent scientific and technical development. He was a true pioneer of scientific discovery. Presented by the Institution of Electrical Engineers.
Earth begins to emit a noticeable glow!
During the early 19th century, newspaper headlines across Europe cried out " Napoleon escapes from St. Elba... Continental armies on the march!! During the same period, these newspapers barely noted Michael Faraday's discovery of the kinetic flashlight. Fifty years later, Napoleon was gone, however due to Faraday's discovery, for the first time in it's five billion year history, the night side of the earth began to emit a noticeable glow!
"I discovered the principle of electromagnetic induction, not Michael Faraday." Joseph Henry (1797-1878) is widely considered the foremost American scientist of the 19th century. Although Henry at an early age appeared to be headed for a career in the theater, a chance encounter with a book of lectures on scientific topics turned his interest to science. Henry’s early investigations concerned electromagnetic phenomena, and his discovery of electromagnetic self-induction in 1831 established his reputation in America. Interestingly, Henry appears to have discovered the principle of electromagnetic induction independently of British scientist Michael Faraday, but because Faraday published his results before Henry, he is credited with the discovery. In 1846 Henry was named first Secretary of the newly-established Smithsonian Institution, a position he held until his death. In 1868 he was elected President of the Academy; this position, too, he held until his death. This according to the National Academy of Sciences, an advisor board to the government in scientific matters.
Electronic Text version of "Faraday as A Discoverer (Page removed from site.)
By JOHN TYNDALL From the Fifth Edition, published Longmans, Green, and Co. London 1894 ( Gutenberg E-text Project)


  • To honor his accomplishments, a unit of electricity was named after Michael Faraday. The "farad" measures capacitance, an amount of electrical charge.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised October 9, 2006.

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