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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Faraday’s Inspiring Life: Science and God


Michael Faraday
Portrait by Thomas Phillips (1842)

Nathan Calvino, Grade 7

Michael Faraday was born on September 22, 1791 in Newington Butts and did not come from a very wealthy family. His father, James was a member of the Glassite sect of Christianity, and he was an apprentice to the village blacksmith. Michael was third of the four children and received only basic education. His parents, Robert Faraday and Elizabeth Dean, were married in 1756. Faraday had 2 siblings. Elizabeth born in 1787 and Robert born in 1788. His father died in 1809 and his mother died in 1838.

In 1804, he served as an errand boy for the bookseller George Riebau, delivering newspapers. It was during these seven years of apprenticeship that Faraday read many books, two in particular that captured his attention were Isaac Watts' The Improvement of the Mind and Jane Marcet’s Conversations on Chemistry. In 1805 he stated his apprenticeship as a bookbinder. In 1812 his apprenticeship as a bookbinder ends.

On March 1, 1813, Faraday began working at the Royal Institution for the pay of 25 shillings a week and was given rooms in the buildings to live in. At first, he washed the lab equipment, but later he started to help Sir Humphrey Davy with experiments.

Michael Faraday and Davy sailed from Plymouth on October 17, 1817 and arrived in Paris. In December Faraday caught a glimpse of Napoleon riding in his carriage. Davy and Faraday met with scientists and conducted experiments on their portable laboratory. After leaving Paris they spent two months at the Mediterranean coast and headed across the Alps into Italy. While in Italy they met some scientists and saw Galileo’s telescope. As they passed through Milan, Faraday met Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the battery. In 1815 their trip was cut short so they returned home to England.

In 1816, Faraday gave his speech at the Royal Institution. In 1820 he discovered carbon tetrachloride.

On October 1, 1820, Davy rushed into the lab with news that Hans Christian Orsted had hypothesized that a magnetic field was generated by electricity and moved in circles around the wire. Soon after that Davy told him that he was assigned a chore for the journal of the Royal Institution, Annals of Philosophy. He had to review all scientific literature about electricity and write a history on it.

On September 3, 1821 Faraday discovered the principle of the electric motor. In 1821 he discovered the principal of electromagnetic rotation, and in 1825 Faraday discovered benzene.

In May, 1823 Richard Phillips told Faraday that he had nominated him to be a Fellow of the Royal Society. At the bottom of the letter telling the president of the Royal Society of the nomination, Faraday wrote, “Sir H. Davy angry, May 30th. On January 8,1824, he was elected into the Society. Davy developed a disabling illness and resigned from both institutions. He died in Geneva, Switzerland in 1829.

In 1826 he began to give lectures. The lectures became so popular that in April 1827, that they were moved to the large lecture hall. For Faraday’s first Evening Discourse on February 3,1826, he demonstrated the properties of natural rubber. In 1826, Faraday started Christian Juvenile lectures. Starting in 1825 and lasting for six years, he studied the properties and manufacture of optical glass used for telescopes.

In early 1831, Faraday conducted a group of experiments on vibrations. In his notebook with each paragraph numbered he wrote:

98. Mercury on tin plate being vibrated in sunshine gave very beautiful effects of reflection.

101. Ink and water vibrated in sunshine looked extremely beautiful.

On Saturday, September 24, 1831, Faraday discovered the principle of electromagnetism. For his last notebook entry, he wrote, “Hence here distinct conversion of Magnetism into Electricity.”

In 1831, Faraday discovered the principle of transformer and the principle of dynamo and created the first electrical generator.

In 1832, Faraday determined that all electricities are the same, regardless of source and states his law of electrolysis.

In the late 1830s, Faraday’s health worsened. His headaches and weakness increased. In November 1839, he suffered from attacks of dizziness. His doctor bled him and ordered him to rest and relax his mind. His laboratory notebook recorded only five days of work from January 11 to February 11, 1840. There is another gap of time until five more days in August and then no more entries until June, 1842. In 1840, Faraday was elected elder of the Sandemanian church.

On March 31, 1844, Faraday was excluded from the Sandemanian church. The early 1840s were a struggle for Faraday. Conflicts with the church, concerns over his health and mental state, and lack of direction in his scientific pursuits hunted him.

On February 13, 1845, he discovered that light propagation in a material can be influenced by external magnetic field. In 1846 Faraday was awarded the Rumford Medal. The Chemical History of a Candle was the title of a series of six lectures on the chemistry and physics of flames given by Michael Faraday at the Royal Institution in 1848. The 6 lectures are:

Lecture 1: A Candle: The Flame - Its Sources - Structure - Mobility - Brightness

Lecture 2: Brightness of the Flame - Air necessary for Combustion - Production of Water

Lecture 3: Products: Water from the Combustion - Nature of Water - A Compound - Hydrogen

Lecture 4: Hydrogen in the Candle - Burns into Water - The Other Part of Water - Oxygen

Lecture 5: Oxygen present in the Air - Nature of the Atmosphere - Its Properties - Other Products from the Candle - Carbonic Acid - Its Properties

Lecture 6: Carbon or Charcoal - Coal Gas Respiration and its Analogy to the Burning of a Candle - Conclusion

Michael Faraday’s Experimental Researches in Electricity was published in 1855. In 1864 his weak health forced him to resign as an elder from his church. Above his bed were verses from the Psalms, “Remember me, O Lord, with the favor that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.”

Faraday married Sarah Barnard on 12 June 1821 at St. Augustine’s church. Sarah provided him with a calm home. Most evenings he liked to sit in his favorite chair watching the sunset. Faraday enjoyed jokes, puns, and word games.

On August 25, 1867 Michael Faraday died at a house provided by Queen Victoria in Hampton Court Palace, Molesey, England. His wife, Sarah, died on January 6, 1879.





On June 5, 1991, the 20-pound note was released in England with Michael Faraday's image on the back. The note was withdrawn on February 28, 2001.

Michael Faraday is known for being a Physicist and a Chemist, his lectures, his work in the field electricity, and the following:

He discovered electromagnetic induction-the principle behind transformers and generators.

He discovered electromagnetic rotation-the principle behind electric motors.

He proposed fields of force created by electricity and magnetism.

He developed an early form of Bunsen burner.

· Faraday's law of induction
· Electrochemistry
· Faraday effect
· Faraday cage
· Faraday constant
· Faraday cup
· Faraday's laws of electrolysis
· Faraday paradox
· Faraday rotator
· Faraday-efficiency effect
· Faraday wave
· Faraday wheel
· Lines of force

Michael Faraday's Diary of Experimental Investigation, 2nd edition, Vol. 3, was first available in 1935, is 7 volumes, and is 3,500 pages long.

He was the recipient of many awards, including the Royal Medal (1835 and 1846); the Copley Medal (1832 and 1838); and the Albert Medal (1866).


1 comment:

  1. Good work on this, Nathan. I wish you the best in your future endeavors. I was blessed to have you in my STEM-Technology classes!

    ReplyDelete