Fascinating facts about Michael
Faraday inventor of the electric motor, the dynamo, the transformer, and the generator.
invent. First practical.
22, 1791 in Newington, Surrey, England
1867 in Hampton Court, Surrey, England
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.
TO LEARN MORE
Invention of the Telephone from The Great Idea Finder
Electricity from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
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.
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.
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
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
Electricity and Magnetism
by James Clerk Maxwell / Paperback 3rd edition (January 1991) / Dover Pubns
This volume covers magnetism and electromagnetism.
ON THE WEB:
Royal Institution of
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
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
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. Henrys 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
By JOHN TYNDALL From the Fifth Edition, published
Longmans, Green, and Co. London 1894 ( Gutenberg E-text Project)
DID YOU KNOW?:
- To honor his accomplishments, a unit of electricity was named
after Michael Faraday. The "farad" measures capacitance, an amount of electrical
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