Michael Faraday, 1842
22 September 1791|
Newington Butts, England
25 August 1867
Hampton Court, Middlesex, England
|Fields||Physics and Chemistry|
Faraday's law of induction
Faraday's laws of electrolysis
Lines of force
William Thomas Brande
Royal Medal (1835 & 1846)
Copley Medal (1832 & 1838)
Rumford Medal (1846)
Albert Medal (1866)
|“Profiles in Chemistry: Michael Faraday” on YouTube, Chemical Heritage Foundation|
Michael Faraday, FRS (22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was an English scientist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include those of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis.
Although Faraday received little formal education, he was one of the most influential scientists in history. It was by his research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current that Faraday established the basis for the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics. Faraday also established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena. He similarly discovered the principle of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and the laws of electrolysis. His inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology, and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology.
As a chemist, Faraday discovered benzene, investigated the clathrate hydrate of chlorine, invented an early form of the Bunsen burner and the system of oxidation numbers, and popularised terminology such as anode, cathode, electrode, and ion. Faraday ultimately became the first and foremost Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a lifetime position.
Faraday was an excellent experimentalist who conveyed his ideas in clear and simple language; his mathematical abilities, however, did not extend as far as trigonometry or any but the simplest algebra. James Clerk Maxwell took the work of Faraday and others, and summarized it in a set of equations that is accepted as the basis of all modern theories of electromagnetic phenomena. On Faraday's uses of the lines of force, Maxwell wrote that they show Faraday "to have been in reality a mathematician of a very high order – one from whom the mathematicians of the future may derive valuable and fertile methods." The SI unit of capacitance, the farad, is named in his honour.
Albert Einstein kept a picture of Faraday on his study wall, alongside pictures of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell. Physicist Ernest Rutherford stated; "When we consider the magnitude and extent of his discoveries and their influence on the progress of science and of industry, there is no honour too great to pay to the memory of Faraday, one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time".
Personal life 1
- Early life 1.1
- Adult life 1.2
- Later life 1.3
Scientific achievements 2
- Chemistry 2.1
- Electricity and magnetism 2.2
- Diamagnetism 2.3
- Faraday cage 2.4
- Royal Institution and public service 3
- Commemorations 4
- Bibliography 5
- See also 6
- References 7
Further reading 8
- Biographies 8.1
External links 9
- Biographies 9.1
- Others 9.2
Faraday was born in
- Michael Faraday's announcement of ether as an anaesthetic in 1818
- Interactive Java Tutorial on Faraday's 1821 Motor National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
- Interactive Java Tutorial on Faraday's Ice Pail Experiment National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
- "Faraday" at LoveToKnow 1911 Britannica Online Encyclopedia
- Michael Faraday at DMOZ
- Works by Michael Faraday at Project Gutenberg (downloads)
- Video Podcast with Sir John Cadogan talking about Benzene since Faraday
- The letters of Faraday and Schoenbein 1836–1862. With notes, comments and references to contemporary letters (1899) full download PDF
- A Short History of Trinity Buoy Wharf at the Trinity Buoy Wharf website
- Faraday School, located on Trinity Buoy Wharf at the New Model School Company Limited's website
- Michael Faraday: The Invention of the Electric Motor and Electric Generator
- Biography at The Royal Institution of Great Britain
- Faraday as a Discoverer by John Tyndall, Project Gutenberg (downloads)
- The Christian Character of Michael Faraday
- Michael Faraday on the British twenty-pound banknote
- The Life and Discoveries of Michael Faraday by J. A. Crowther, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1920
- Cantor, Geoffrey (1991). Michael Faraday, Sandemanian and Scientist. Macmillian.
- Gladstone, J. H. (1872). Michael Faraday. London: Macmillan.
- Hamilton, James (2002). Faraday: The Life. London: Harper Collins.
- Hamilton, James (2004). A Life of Discovery: Michael Faraday, Giant of the Scientific Revolution. New York:
- Hirshfeld, Alan W. (2006). The Electric Life of Michael Faraday.
- Thompson, Silvanus (1901). Michael Faraday, His Life and Work. London:
- Tyndall, John (1868). Faraday as a Discoverer. London:
- The British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers Association (1931). Faraday. R. & R. Clark, Ltd., Edinburgh, 1931.
- Agassi, Joseph (1971). Faraday as a Natural Philosopher. Chicago:
- Ames, Joseph Sweetman (Ed.) (c. 1900). The Discovery of Induced Electric Currents 2. New York:
- Michael Faraday entry at the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica hosted by LovetoKnow Retrieved January 2007.
- "Archives Biographies: Michael Faraday", The Institution of Engineering and Technology.
- The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell Volume 1 page 360; Courier Dover 2003, ISBN 0-486-49560-4
- "Einstein's Heroes: Imagining the World through the Language of Mathematics", by Robyn Arianrhod UQP, reviewed by Jane Gleeson-White, 10 November 2003, The Sydney Morning Herald.
- C.N.R. Rao (2000). "Understanding Chemistry". p. 281. Universities Press, 2000
- Frank A. J. L. James, ‘Faraday, Michael (1791–1867)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 3 March 2009
- For a concise account of Faraday’s life including his childhood, see pages 175–83 of EVERY SATURDAY: A JOURNAL OF CHOICE READING, Vol III published at Cambridge in 1873 by Osgood & Co.
- The implication was that James discovered job opportunities elsewhere through membership of this sect. James joined the London meeting house on 20 February 1791, and moved his family shortly thereafter. See pages 57–8 of Cantor's (1991) Michael Faraday, Sandemanian and Scientist.
- "Michael Faraday." History of Science and Technology. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 4 June 2007
- Plaque #19 on Open Plaques.
- John H. Lienhard (1992). "Michael Faraday". The Engines of Our Ingenuity. Episode 741. No 741: Michael Faraday (transcript). NPR. KUHF-FM Houston.
- John H. Lienhard (1992). "Jane Marcet's Books". The Engines of Our Ingenuity. Episode 744. No 744: Jane Marcet's Books (transcript). NPR. KUHF-FM Houston.
- The register at St. Faith-in-the-Virgin near St. Paul's Cathedral, records 12 June as the date their licence was issued. The witness was Sarah's father, Edward. Their marriage was 16 years prior to the Marriage and Registration Act of 1837. See page 59 of Cantor's (1991) Michael Faraday, Sandemanian and Scientist.
- See pages 41–43, 60–4, and 277-80 of Geoffrey Cantor's (1991) Michael Faraday, Sandemanian and Scientist.
- Paul's Alley was located 10 houses south of the Barbican. See page 330 Elmes's (1831) Topographical Dictionary of the British Metropolis.
- Baggott, Jim (2 September 1991). "The myth of Michael Faraday: Michael Faraday was not just one of Britain's greatest experimenters. A closer look at the man and his work reveals that he was also a clever theoretician". New Scientist. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
- Krista West (2013). "The Basics of Metals and Metalloids". p. 81. Rosen Publishing Group,
- Todd Timmons (2012). "Makers of Western Science: The Works and Words of 24 Visionaries from Copernicus to Watson and Crick". p. 127.
- Gladstone, John Hall (1872). Michael Faraday. London, UK:
- Mary Ellen Bowden (1997). "Chemical Achievers: The Human Face of the Chemical Sciences". p. 30.
- Twickenham Museum on Faraday and Faraday House; accessed August 14, 2014.
- Croddy, Eric; Wirtz, James J. (2005). Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Encyclopedia of Worldwide Policy, Technology, and History.
- Plaque #2429 on Open Plaques.
- Jensen, William B. (2005). "The Origin of the Bunsen Burner" (PDF).
- See page 127 of Faraday's Chemical Manipulation, Being Instructions to Students in Chemistry (1827)
- Faraday, Michael (1821). "On two new Compounds of Chlorine and Carbon, and on a new Compound of Iodine, Carbon, and Hydrogen". Philosophical Transactions 111: 47.
- Faraday, Michael (1859). Experimental Researches in Chemistry and Physics. London:
- Williams, L. Pearce (1965). Michael Faraday: A Biography. New York:
- Faraday, Michael (1823). "On Hydrate of Chlorine". Quartly Journal of Science 15: 71.
- Faraday, Michael (1859). Experimental Researches in Chemistry and Physics. London: Richard Taylor and William Francis. pp. 81–84.
"The Birth of Nanotechnology". Nanogallery.info. 2006. Retrieved 25 July 2007.
Faraday made some attempt to explain what was causing the vivid coloration in his gold mixtures, saying that known phenomena seemed to indicate that a mere variation in the size of gold particles gave rise to a variety of resultant colors.
- Faraday, Michael (1844). Experimental Researches in Electricity 2. See plate 4.
- Hamilton's A Life of Discovery: Michael Faraday, Giant of the Scientific Revolution (2004) pp. 165–71, 183, 187–90.
- Cantor's Michael Faraday, Sandemanian and Scientist (1991) pp. 231–3.
- Thompson’s Michael Faraday, his life and work (1901) p.95.
- Thompson (1901) p. 91. This lab entry illustrates Faraday’s quest for the connection between light and electromagnetic phenomenon 10 September 1821.
- Cantor's Michael Faraday, Sandemanian and Scientist (1991) p. 233.
- pp. 95–98 of Thompson (1901).
- Thompson (1901) p 100.
- Faraday's initial induction lab work occurred in late November 1825. His work was heavily influenced by the ongoing research of fellow European scientists Ampere, Arago, and Oersted as indicated by his diary entries. Cantor’s Michael Faraday: Sandemanian and Scientist (1991) pp. 235–44.
- David Gooding, Trevor Pinch, Simon Schaffer (1989). "The Uses of Experiment: Studies in the Natural Sciences". p. 212. Cambridge University Press,
- Van Valkenburgh (1995). "Basic Electricity". p.4-91. Cengage Learning, 1995
- Detail of an engraving by Henry Adlard, based on an earlier photograph by Maull & Polyblank ca. 1857. See National Portrait Gallery, UK
- Frank A.J.L James (2010). "Michael Faraday: A Very Short Introduction". p. 81. Oxford University Press, 2010
- Peter Day (1999). The Philosopher's Tree: A Selection of Michael Faraday's Writings". p. 125. CRC Press,
- Zeeman, Pieter (1897). "The Effect of Magnetisation on the Nature of Light Emitted by a Substance".
- "Pieter Zeeman, Nobel Lecture". Retrieved 29 May 2008.
- "Michael Faraday (1791-1867)". The Royal Institution. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- Denis Smith (2001). "London and the Thames Valley". p. 236. Thomas Telford,
- J. M Thomas (1991). "Michael Faraday and The Royal Institution: The Genius of Man and Place". p. 83. CRC Press,
- See The Illustrated London News, July 1853, for Faraday's comments.
- Lan, Boon Leong, and Jeanette B. S. Lim. "Michael Faraday: Prince Of Lecturers In Victorian England." The Physics Teacher (Stony Brook, N.Y.) 39.1 (2001): 32-36.
- Hirshfeld, Alan. The Electric Life of Michael Faraday. New York: Walker & Company, 2006. Print.
- Seeger, Raymond J. "Michael Faraday and the Art of Lecturing." Physics Today (1968): 30-38. Print.
- Fisher, Stuart (2012). "Rivers of Britain: Estuaries, tideways, havens, lochs, firths and kyles". p. 231. A&C Black, 2012
- Michael Faraday Primary School.
- "FARADAY, MICHAEL (1791-1867)".
- "Withdrawn banknotes reference guide".
- "100 great Britons – A complete list".
- Grant profile, John Templeton Foundation
- About us, Faraday Institute
- See page 220 of Hamilton's A Life of Discovery: Michael Faraday, Giant of the Scientific Revolution (2002)
- Faraday rotator
- Homopolar generator
- Faraday (Unit of electrical charge)
- Farad (Unit of electrical capacitance)
- Forensic engineering
- Lines of force
- Zeeman effect
- Timeline of hydrogen technologies
- Timeline of low-temperature technology
- Faraday paradox
- Hans Christian Ørsted
- Faraday cage
- Faraday, Michael (1827). Chemical Manipulation, Being Instructions to Students in Chemistry. John Murray. 2nd ed. 1830, 3rd ed. 1842
- Faraday, Michael (1839, 1844). Experimental Researches in Electricity, vols. i. and ii.. Richard and John Edward Taylor. ; vol. iii. Richard Taylor and William Francis, 1855
- Faraday, Michael (1859). Experimental Researches in Chemistry and Physics. Taylor and Francis.
- Faraday, Michael (1861). W. Crookes, ed. A Course of Six Lectures on the Chemical History of a Candle. Griffin, Bohn & Co.
- Faraday, Michael (1873). W. Crookes, ed. On the Various Forces in Nature. Chatto and Windus.
- Faraday, Michael (1932–1936). T. Martin, ed. Diary. – published in eight volumes; see also the 2009 publication of Faraday's diary
- Faraday, Michael (1991). B. Bowers and L. Symons, ed. Curiosity Perfectly Satisfyed: Faraday's Travels in Europe 1813–1815. Institution of Electrical Engineers.
- Faraday, Michael (1991). F. A. J. L. James, ed. The Correspondence of Michael Faraday 1. INSPEC, Inc. – volume 2, 1993; volume 3, 1996; volume 4, 1999
- Faraday, Michael (2008). Alice Jenkins, ed. Michael Faraday's Mental Exercises: An Artisan Essay Circle in Regency London. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press.
- Course of six lectures on the various forces of matter, and their relations to each other London; Glasgow: R. Griffin, 1860.
- The Liquefaction of Gases, Edinburgh: W. F. Clay, 1896.
- The letters of Faraday and Schoenbein 1836–1862. With notes, comments and references to contemporary letters London: Williams & Norgate 1899. (Digital edition by the University and State Library Düsseldorf)
Faraday's books, with the exception of Chemical Manipulation, were collections of scientific papers or transcriptions of lectures. Since his death, Faraday's diary has been published, as have several large volumes of his letters and Faraday's journal from his travels with Davy in 1813–1815.
Faraday's life and contributions to electromagnetics was the principal topic of the tenth episode of the 2014 American science documentary series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which was broadcast on Fox and the National Geographic Channel.
The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion derives its name from the scientist, who saw his faith as integral to his scientific research. The logo of the Institute is also based on Faraday's discoveries. It was created in 2006 by a $2,000,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation to carry out academic research, to foster understanding of the interaction between science and religion, and to engage public understanding in both these subject areas.
A Royal Society of Arts blue plaque, unveiled in 1876, commemorates Faraday at 48 Blandford Street in London's Marylebone district. From 1991 until 2001, Faraday's picture featured on the reverse of Series E £20 banknotes issued by the Bank of England. He was portrayed conducting a lecture at the Royal Institution with the magneto-electric spark apparatus. In 2002, Faraday was ranked number 22 in the BBC's list of the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote.
Streets named for Faraday can be found in many British cities (e.g., London, Fife, Swindon, Basingstoke, Nottingham, Whitby, Kirkby, Crawley, Newbury, Swansea, Aylesbury and Stevenage) as well as in France (Paris), Germany (Berlin-Dahlem, Hermsdorf), Canada (Quebec; Deep River, Ontario; Ottawa, Ontario), and the United States (Reston, Virginia).
A building at London South Bank University, which houses the institute's electrical engineering departments is named the Faraday Wing, due to its proximity to Faraday's birthplace in Newington Butts. A hall at Loughborough University was named after Faraday in 1960. Near the entrance to its dining hall is a bronze casting, which depicts the symbol of an electrical transformer, and inside there hangs a portrait, both in Faraday's honour. An eight-story building at the University of Edinburgh's science & engineering campus is named for Faraday, as is a recently built hall of accommodation at Brunel University, the main engineering building at Swansea University, and the instructional and experimental physics building at Northern Illinois University. The former UK Faraday Station in Antarctica was named after him.
Faraday Gardens is a small park in Walworth, London, not far from his birthplace at Newington Butts. This park lies within the local council ward of Faraday in the London Borough of Southwark. Michael Faraday Primary school is situated on the Aylesbury Estate in Walworth.
A statue of Faraday stands in Savoy Place, London, outside the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Also in London, the Michael Faraday Memorial, designed by brutalist architect Rodney Gordon and completed in 1961, is at the Elephant & Castle gyratory system, near Faraday's birthplace at Newington Butts. Faraday School is located on Trinity Buoy Wharf where his workshop still stands above the Chain and Buoy Store, next to London's only lighthouse.
- 1827 Chemistry
- 1829 Electricity
- 1832 Chemistry
- 1835 Electricity
- 1837 Chemistry
- 1841 The Rudiments of Chemistry
- 1843 First Principles of Electricity
- 1845 The Rudiments of Chemistry
- 1848 The Chemical History of a Candle
- 1851 Attractive Forces
- 1852 Chemistry
- 1853 Voltaic Electricity
- 1854 The Chemistry of Combustion
- 1855 The Distinctive Properties of the Common Metals
- 1856 Attractive Forces
- 1857 Static Electricity
- 1858 The Metallic Properties
- 1859 The Various Forces of Matter and their Relations to Each Other
- 1860 The Chemical History of a Candle
Before his famous Christmas lectures, Faraday delivered chemistry lectures for the City Philosophical Society from 1816 to 1818 in order to refine the quality of his lectures. Between 1827 and 1860 at the Royal Institution in London, Faraday gave a series of nineteen Christmas lectures for young people, a series which continues today. The objective of Faraday’s Christmas lectures was to present science to the general public in the hopes of inspiring them and generating revenue for the Royal Institution. They were notable events on the social calendar among London’s gentry. Over the course of several letters to his close friend Benjamin Abbott, Faraday outlined his recommendations on the art of lecturing: Faraday wrote “a flame should be lighted at the commencement and kept alive with unremitting splendour to the end”. His lectures were joyful and juvenile, he delighted in filling soap bubbles with various gasses (in order to determine whether or not they are magnetic) in front of his audiences and marveled at the rich colors of polarized lights, but the lectures were also deeply philosophical. In his lectures he urged his audiences to consider the mechanics of his experiments: “you know very well that ice floats upon water . . . Why does the ice float? Think of that, and philosophise”. His subjects included:
Education was another of Faraday's areas of service; he lectured on the topic in 1854 at the Royal Institution, and in 1862 he appeared before a Public Schools Commission to give his views on education in Great Britain. Faraday also weighed in negatively on the public's fascination with table-turning, mesmerism, and seances, and in so doing chastised both the public and the nation's educational system.
Faraday assisted with the planning and judging of exhibits for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. He also advised the National Gallery on the cleaning and protection of its art collection, and served on the National Gallery Site Commission in 1857.
Faraday was also active in what would now be called environmental science, or engineering. He investigated industrial pollution at Swansea and was consulted on air pollution at the Royal Mint. In July 1855, Faraday wrote a letter to The Times on the subject of the foul condition of the River Thames, which resulted in an oft-reprinted cartoon in Punch. (See also The Great Stink.)
As a respected scientist in a nation with strong maritime interests, Faraday spent extensive amounts of time on projects such as the construction and operation of light houses and protecting the bottoms of ships from corrosion. His workshop still stands at Trinity Buoy Wharf above the Chain and Buoy Store, next to London's only lighthouse where he carried out the first experiments in electric lighting for lighthouses.
Beyond his scientific research into areas such as chemistry, electricity, and magnetism at the Royal Institution, Faraday undertook numerous, and often time-consuming, service projects for private enterprise and the British government. This work included investigations of explosions in coal mines, being an expert witness in court, and along with two engineers from Chance Brothers c.1853, the preparation of high-quality optical glass, which was required by Chance for its lighthouses. In 1846, together with Charles Lyell, he produced a lengthy and detailed report on a serious explosion in the colliery at Haswell County Durham, which killed 95 miners. Their report was a meticulous forensic investigation and indicated that coal dust contributed to the severity of the explosion. The report should have warned coal owners of the hazard of coal dust explosions, but the risk was ignored for over 60 years until the Senghenydd Colliery Disaster of 1913.
Faraday had a long association with the Royal Institution of Great Britain. He was appointed Assistant Superintendent of the House of the Royal Institution in 1821. He was elected a member of the Royal Society in 1824. In 1825, he became Director of the Laboratory of the Royal Institution. Six years later, in 1833, Faraday became the first Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a position to which he was appointed for life without the obligation to deliver lectures. His sponsor and mentor was John 'Mad Jack' Fuller, who created the position at the Royal Institution for Faraday.
Royal Institution and public service
In his work on static electricity, Faraday's ice pail experiment demonstrated that the charge resided only on the exterior of a charged conductor, and exterior charge had no influence on anything enclosed within a conductor. This is because the exterior charges redistribute such that the interior fields due to them cancel. This shielding effect is used in what is now known as a Faraday cage.
Later on in his life, in 1862, Faraday used a spectroscope to search for a different alteration of light, the change of spectral lines by an applied magnetic field. The equipment available to him was, however, insufficient for a definite determination of spectral change. Pieter Zeeman later used an improved apparatus to study the same phenomenon, publishing his results in 1897 and receiving the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics for his success. In both his 1897 paper and his Nobel acceptance speech, Zeeman made reference to Faraday's work.
Faraday also discovered that the plane of polarization of linearly polarized light can be rotated by the application of an external magnetic field aligned with the direction in which the light is moving. This is now termed the Faraday effect. He wrote in his notebook, "I have at last succeeded in illuminating a magnetic curve or line of force and in magnetising a ray of light".
In 1845, Faraday discovered that many materials exhibit a weak repulsion from a magnetic field: a phenomenon he termed diamagnetism.
Near the end of his career, Faraday proposed that electromagnetic forces extended into the empty space around the conductor. This idea was rejected by his fellow scientists, and Faraday did not live to see the eventual acceptance of his proposition by the scientific community. Faraday's concept of lines of flux emanating from charged bodies and magnets provided a way to visualize electric and magnetic fields; that conceptual model was crucial for the successful development of the electromechanical devices that dominated engineering and industry for the remainder of the 19th century.
In 1832, he completed a series of experiments aimed at investigating the fundamental nature of electricity; Faraday used "static", batteries, and "animal electricity" to produce the phenomena of electrostatic attraction, electrolysis, magnetism, etc. He concluded that, contrary to the scientific opinion of the time, the divisions between the various "kinds" of electricity were illusory. Faraday instead proposed that only a single "electricity" exists, and the changing values of quantity and intensity (current and voltage) would produce different groups of phenomena.
Faraday's breakthrough came when he wrapped two insulated coils of wire around an iron ring, and found that upon passing a current through one coil a momentary current was induced in the other coil. This phenomenon is now known as mutual induction. The iron ring-coil apparatus is still on display at the Royal Institution. In subsequent experiments, he found that if he moved a magnet through a loop of wire an electric current flowed in that wire. The current also flowed if the loop was moved over a stationary magnet. His demonstrations established that a changing magnetic field produces an electric field; this relation was modelled mathematically by James Clerk Maxwell as Faraday's law, which subsequently became one of the four Maxwell equations, and which have in turn evolved into the generalization known today as field theory. Faraday would later use the principles he had discovered to construct the electric dynamo, the ancestor of modern power generators and the electric motor.
From his initial discovery in 1821, Faraday continued his laboratory work, exploring electromagnetic properties of materials and developing requisite experience. In 1824, Faraday briefly set up a circuit to study whether a magnetic field could regulate the flow of a current in an adjacent wire, but he found no such relationship. This experiment followed similar work conducted with light and magnets three years earlier that yielded identical results. During the next seven years, Faraday spent much of his time perfecting his recipe for optical quality (heavy) glass, borosilicate of lead, which he used in his future studies connecting light with magnetism. In his spare time, Faraday continued publishing his experimental work on optics and electromagnetism; he conducted correspondence with scientists whom he had met on his journeys across Europe with Davy, and who were also working on electromagnetism. Two years after the death of Davy, in 1831, he began his great series of experiments in which he discovered electromagnetic induction, recording in his laboratory diary on 28 October 1831 he was; "making many experiments with the great magnet of the Royal Society".
In 1821, soon after the Danish physicist and chemist Hans Christian Ørsted discovered the phenomenon of electromagnetism, Davy and British scientist William Hyde Wollaston tried, but failed, to design an electric motor. Faraday, having discussed the problem with the two men, went on to build two devices to produce what he called "electromagnetic rotation". One of these, now known as the homopolar motor, caused a continuous circular motion that was engendered by the circular magnetic force around a wire that extended into a pool of mercury wherein was placed a magnet; the wire would then rotate around the magnet if supplied with current from a chemical battery. These experiments and inventions formed the foundation of modern electromagnetic technology. In his excitement, Faraday published results without acknowledging his work with either Wollaston or Davy. The resulting controversy within the Royal Society strained his mentor relationship with Davy and may well have contributed to Faraday’s assignment to other activities, which consequently prevented his involvement in electromagnetic research for several years.
Faraday is best known for his work regarding electricity and magnetism. His first recorded experiment was the construction of a voltaic pile with seven ha'penny coins, stacked together with seven disks of sheet zinc, and six pieces of paper moistened with salt water. With this pile he decomposed sulphate of magnesia (first letter to Abbott, 12 July 1812).
Electricity and magnetism
Faraday was the first to report what later came to be called metallic nanoparticles. In 1847 he discovered that the optical properties of gold colloids differed from those of the corresponding bulk metal. This was probably the first reported observation of the effects of quantum size, and might be considered to be the birth of nanoscience.
Faraday invented an early form of what was to become the Bunsen burner, which is in practical use in science laboratories around the world as a convenient source of heat. Faraday worked extensively in the field of chemistry, discovering chemical substances such as benzene (which he called bicarburet of hydrogen) and liquefying gases such as chlorine. The liquefying of gases helped to establish that gases are the vapours of liquids possessing a very low boiling point and gave a more solid basis to the concept of molecular aggregation. In 1820 Faraday reported the first synthesis of compounds made from carbon and chlorine, C2Cl6 and C2Cl4, and published his results the following year. Faraday also determined the composition of the chlorine clathrate hydrate, which had been discovered by Humphry Davy in 1810. Faraday is also responsible for discovering the laws of electrolysis, and for popularizing terminology such as anode, cathode, electrode, and ion, terms proposed in large part by William Whewell.
Michael Faraday in his laboratory, ca. 1850s.
Michael Faraday's study at the Royal Institution.
Michael Faraday's flat at the Royal Institution.
Artist Harriet Jane Moore who documented Faraday's life in watercolours.
Faraday's earliest chemical work was as an assistant to Humphry Davy. Faraday was specifically involved in the study of chlorine; he discovered two new compounds of chlorine and carbon. He also conducted the first rough experiments on the diffusion of gases, a phenomenon that was first pointed out by John Dalton. The physical importance of this phenomenon was more fully revealed by Thomas Graham and Joseph Loschmidt. Faraday succeeded in liquefying several gases, investigated the alloys of steel, and produced several new kinds of glass intended for optical purposes. A specimen of one of these heavy glasses subsequently became historically important; when the glass was placed in a magnetic field Faraday determined the rotation of the plane of polarisation of light. This specimen was also the first substance found to be repelled by the poles of a magnet.
Faraday died at his house at Hampton Court on 25 August 1867, aged 75. He had previously turned down burial in Westminster Abbey, but he has a memorial plaque there, near Isaac Newton's tomb. Faraday was interred in the dissenters' (non-Anglican) section of Highgate Cemetery.
When asked by the British government to advise on the production of chemical weapons for use in the Crimean War (1853–1856), Faraday refused to participate citing ethical reasons.
Faraday suffered a nervous breakdown in 1839 but eventually returned to his electromagnetic investigations. In 1848, as a result of representations by the Prince Consort, Faraday was awarded a grace and favour house in Hampton Court in Middlesex, free of all expenses or upkeep. This was the Master Mason's House, later called Faraday House, and now No. 37 Hampton Court Road. In 1858 Faraday retired to live there.
In June 1832, the University of Oxford granted Faraday a Doctor of Civil Law degree (honorary). During his lifetime, he was offered a knighthood in recognition for his services to science, which he turned down on religious grounds, believing it was against the word of the Bible to accumulate riches and pursue worldly reward, stating he preferred to remain "plain Mr Faraday to the end". He twice refused to become President of the Royal Society. He was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1838, and was one of eight foreign members elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1844.
Faraday was a devout Christian; his Sandemanian denomination was an offshoot of the Church of Scotland. Well after his marriage, he served as deacon and for two terms as an elder in the meeting house of his youth. His church was located at Paul's Alley in the Barbican. This meeting house was relocated in 1862 to Barnsbury Grove, Islington; this North London location was where Faraday served the final two years of his second term as elder prior to his resignation from that post. Biographers have noted that "a strong sense of the unity of God and nature pervaded Faraday's life and work."
Faraday married Sarah Barnard (1800–1879) on 12 June 1821. They met through their families at the Sandemanian church, and he confessed his faith to the Sandemanian congregation the month after they were married. They had no children.
In the class-based English society of the time, Faraday was not considered a gentleman. When Davy set out on a long tour of the continent in 1813–15, his valet did not wish to go. Instead, Faraday went as Davy's scientific assistant, and was asked to act as Davy's valet until a replacement could be found in Paris. Faraday was forced to fill the role of valet as well as assistant throughout the trip. Davy's wife, Jane Apreece, refused to treat Faraday as an equal (making him travel outside the coach, eat with the servants, etc.), and made Faraday so miserable that he contemplated returning to England alone and giving up science altogether. The trip did, however, give him access to the scientific elite of Europe and exposed him to a host of stimulating ideas.
In 1812, at the age of twenty, and at the end of his apprenticeship, Faraday attended lectures by the eminent English chemist Humphry Davy of the Royal Institution and Royal Society, and John Tatum, founder of the City Philosophical Society. Many of the tickets for these lectures were given to Faraday by William Dance, who was one of the founders of the Royal Philharmonic Society. Faraday subsequently sent Davy a three-hundred-page book based on notes that he had taken during these lectures. Davy's reply was immediate, kind, and favourable. When Davy damaged his eyesight in an accident with nitrogen trichloride, he decided to employ Faraday as a secretary. When one of the Royal Institution's assistants, John Payne, was sacked, Sir Humphry Davy was asked to find a replacement, and appointed Faraday as Chemical Assistant at the Royal Institution on 1 March 1813.
.Jane Marcet by Conversations on Chemistry, and he enthusiastically implemented the principles and suggestions contained therein. At this time he also developed an interest in science, especially in electricity. Faraday was particularly inspired by the book The Improvement of the Mind' Isaac Watts During his seven-year apprenticeship he read many books, including