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Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday

1791 - 1867 (75 years)

Faraday became an apprentice bookbinder when he was 14 and learnt about chemistry by studying books that were bound there. He received formal scientific training from Humphry Davy at The Royal Institution and became Davy’s assistant and demonstrator, working there for 10 years before becoming a Professor of Chemistry in 1825.

Throughout his career, Faraday made significant contributions to science – he discovered electromagnetic induction which laid down the foundation for modern electrical engineering practices, developed laws governing electrolysis and created two types of motors. He also established fundamental concepts related to capacitance: the unit of capacitance, the ‘farad’, is named after him. Faraday also initiated the Royal Institute’s Christmas Lectures aimed at young people.

Little known is his influence in Chemistry - he discovered benzene, investigated chlorine, invented the system of oxidation numbers, and popularised terminology such as "anode", "cathode", "electrode" and "ion".

Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized Physics by Nancy Forbes & Basil Mahon

'Told with panache, warmth, and clarity, this captivating story of their greatest work - in which each played an equal part - and their inspiring lives will bring new appreciation to these giants of science'.

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Michael Faraday

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