Physicist Faraday: biography, discoveries

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Physicist Faraday: biography, discoveries
Physicist Faraday: biography, discoveries

English physicist Michael Faraday, who grew up in a poor family, became one of the greatest scientists in the history of mankind. His outstanding achievements were made at a time when science was the lot of people born into privileged families. The unit of electrical capacitance, the farad, is named after him.

Faraday (physicist): short biography

Michael Faraday was born on September 22, 1791 in the British capital London. He was the third child in the family of James and Margaret Faraday. His father was a blacksmith who was in poor he alth. Before marriage, his mother worked as a maid. The family lived in poverty.

Until the age of 13, Michael attended a local school where he received his primary education. To help the family, he started working as a messenger in a bookstore. The boy's diligence impressed his employer. A year later, he was promoted to apprentice bookbinder.

physicist faraday

Bookbinding and Science

Michael Faraday wanted to know more about the world; he was not limited to the restoration of books. After diligent daily work, he spent all his free time reading books that he bound.

Slowly, he discovered that he was interested in science. He especially liked two books:

  • The Encyclopædia Britannica is the source of his knowledge of electricity and much more.
  • Chemistry Talks - 600 pages of accessible chemistry by Jane Marset.

He was so enamored that he began to spend part of his meager income on chemicals and apparatus to confirm the truth of what he read.

Expanding his scientific knowledge, he heard that the famous scientist John Tatum was about to give a series of public lectures on natural philosophy (physics). To attend the lectures, one had to pay a fee of one shilling - too much for Michael Faraday. His older brother, a blacksmith, impressed by his brother's growing devotion to science, gave him the necessary amount.

Michael Faraday discoveries in physics

Meet Humphrey Davy

Faraday took another step towards science when William Dance, a bookstore customer, asked Michael if he would like to get tickets for lectures at the Royal Institution.

The lecturer, Sir Humphry Davy, was one of the world's most famous scientists of the day. Faraday jumped at the chance and attended four lectures on one of the newest problems in chemistry - the determination of acidity. He watched the experiments that Davy conducted in lectures.

This was the world he wanted to live in. Faraday kept notes, and then made so many additions to the notes that he produced a 300-page manuscript, which he himself bound and sent to Davy as a signthanks.

At this time, in the backyard of a bookstore, Michael began to conduct more complex experiments to create an electric battery from copper coins and zinc disks separated by wet s alt paper. He used it to break down chemicals like magnesium sulfate. Humphry Davy was a pioneer in this field of chemistry.

In October 1812, Faraday's apprenticeship ended and he began working as a bookbinder for another employer he found distasteful.

There would be no happiness, but misfortune helped

And then there was a happy event for Faraday. As a result of an unsuccessful experiment, Humphry Davy was injured: this temporarily affected his ability to write. Michael managed to keep notes for several days for Davy, who was impressed by the book he sent him.

When the short period of work as an assistant ended, Faraday sent a note to the scientist asking him to hire him as his assistant. Shortly thereafter, one of Davy's lab assistants was fired for misconduct, and Humphrey asked Michael if he would like to fill the vacancy.

Would he like to work at the Royal Institute with one of the most famous scientists in the world? It was a rhetorical question.

faraday physicist

Career at the Royal Institution

Faraday took office on March 1, 1813, at the age of 21.

He was well paid and given a room to live in the attic of the Royal Institute. Michael was very pleased and his association with this institution is no longerinterrupted for 54 years, during which he managed to become a professor of chemistry.

Faraday's job was to prepare equipment for experiments and lectures at the Royal Institution. At first, he de alt with nitrogen trichloride, an explosive that injured Davy. Michael also briefly lost consciousness during the next explosion, and when Humphrey was injured again, experiments with this compound were stopped.

After 7 months at the Royal Institution, Davy took Faraday with him on an 18-month tour of Europe. During this time, Michael managed to meet great scientists such as Andre-Marie Ampère in Paris and Alessandro Volta in Milan. In a way, the tour replaced his university education - Faraday learned a lot during this time.

For most of the tour, however, he was unhappy, because in addition to scientific and secretarial work, he had to wait on Davy and his wife. The scientist's wife did not consider Faraday an equal because of his origin.

After returning to London, everything fell into place. The Royal Institute renewed Michael's contract and increased his remuneration. Davy even started to mention his help in scientific papers.

In 1816, at the age of 24, Faraday gave his first lecture on the properties of matter. It took place in the City Philosophical Society. At the same time, he published his first scientific article on the analysis of calcium hydroxide in the Science Quarterly.

In 1821, at the age of 29, Faraday was promoted to head of the household and laboratory of the Royal Institute. In the samehe married Sarah Barnard. Michael and his wife lived at the institute for most of the next 46 years, no longer in the attic, but in the comfortable space once occupied by Humphry Davy.

In 1824, the biography of Faraday (physics) was marked by his election to the Royal Society. This was an acknowledgment that he had become a notable scientist.

In 1825, the physicist Faraday became director of the laboratory.

In 1833 he became Fuller's professor of chemistry at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Faraday held this position for the rest of his life.

In 1848 and 1858 he was asked to head the Royal Society, but declined.

michael faraday physics

Scientific achievements

It would take more than one book to describe Faraday's discoveries in physics. It is no coincidence that Albert Einstein kept photographs of only three scientists in his office: Isaac Newton, James Maxwell and Michael Faraday.

Oddly enough, although the word "physicist" began to be used during the life of the scientist, he himself did not like it, and he always called himself a philosopher. Faraday was a man of discovery through experimentation, and he was known for never giving up on ideas he came up with through scientific intuition.

If he thought the idea was worth it, he kept experimenting despite many failures until he achieved what he expected or until he was convinced that Mother Nature proved him wrong, which was extremely rare.

So what did Faraday discover in physics? Here are some of his most notableachievements.

1821: discovery of electromagnetic rotation

It was the harbinger of what would eventually lead to the creation of the electric motor. The discovery was based on Oersted's theory of the magnetic properties of a wire carrying an electric current.

faraday's law physics formula

1823: Gas liquefaction and refrigeration

In 1802, John D alton suggested that all gases could be liquefied at low temperatures or high pressures. The physicist Faraday proved this empirically. He first turned chlorine and ammonia into a liquid.

Liquid ammonia was also interesting because, as Michael Faraday noted, the physics of its evaporation process caused cooling. The principle of cooling by means of artificial evaporation was publicly demonstrated by William Cullen in Edinburgh in 1756. The scientist, using a pump, lowered the pressure in the flask with ether, as a result of which it rapidly evaporated. This caused cooling, and ice formed on the outside of the flask from the moisture in the air.

The importance of Faraday's discovery was that mechanical pumps could turn a gas into a liquid at room temperature. Then the liquid evaporated, cooling everything around, the resulting gas could be collected and compressed into a liquid again by means of a pump, repeating the cycle. This is how modern refrigerators and freezers work.

In 1862, at the World Exhibition in London, Ferdinand Carré demonstrated the world's first commercial ice-making machine. The car used ammonia as a coolant, and itproduced ice at a rate of 200 kg per hour.

1825: Discovery of benzene

Historically, benzene has become one of the most important substances in chemistry, both in a practical sense, that is, it is used to create new materials, and in a theoretical sense, to understand the chemical bond. A scientist has discovered benzene in the oily residue of a London lighting gas production facility.

Faraday physicist short biography

1831: Faraday's law, formula, physics of electromagnetic induction

This was an extremely important discovery for the future of science and technology. Faraday's law (physics) states that an alternating magnetic field induces an electric current in a circuit, and the generated electromotive force is directly proportional to the rate of change of the magnetic flux. One of his possible entries is |E|=|dΦ/dt|, where E is the EMF and Ф is the magnetic flux.

For example, moving a horseshoe magnet along a wire produces an electric current, as the movement of the magnet causes an alternating magnetic field. Prior to this, the only source of current was the battery. Michael Faraday, whose discoveries in physics showed that motion could be converted into electricity, or, in more scientific terms, kinetic energy could be converted into electrical energy, is thus responsible for the fact that most of the energy in our homes today is produced from this principle.

Rotation (kinetic energy) is converted into electricity by electromagnetic induction. And the rotation, in turn, is obtained by the action of high steam on the turbines.pressure created by the energy of coal, gas or atom, or the pressure of water in hydroelectric power plants, or air pressure in wind power plants.

1834: laws of electrolysis

Faraday the physicist made a major contribution to the creation of the new science of electrochemistry. It explains what happens at the interface between the electrode and the ionized substance. Thanks to electrochemistry, we use lithium-ion batteries and accumulators that power modern mobile technology. Faraday's laws are important to our understanding of electrode reactions.

English physicist Michael Faraday

1836: invention of the shielded camera

Physicist Faraday discovered that when an electrical conductor is charged, all excess charge accumulates on its outer side. This means that inside a room or a cage made of metal, no additional charge appears. For example, a person dressed in a Faraday suit, that is, with a metal lining, is not exposed to external electricity. In addition to protecting people, the Faraday cage can be used to conduct electrical or electrochemical experiments that are sensitive to external interference. Shielded cameras can also create dead zones for mobile communications.

1845: discovery of the Faraday effect - the magneto-optical effect

Another important experiment in the history of science was the first to prove the connection between electromagnetism and light, which in 1864 was fully described by the equations of James Clerk Maxwell. The physicist Faraday established that light is an electromagnetic wave: “Whenopposite magnetic poles were on the same side, this had an effect on the polarized beam, which thus proves the connection between magnetic force and light…

1845: discovery of diamagnetism as a property of all matter

Most people are familiar with ferromagnetism using ordinary magnets as an example. Faraday (physicist) discovered that all substances are diamagnetic - weakly for the most part, but there are also strong ones. Diamagnetism is opposite to the direction of the applied magnetic field. For example, if you place the north pole near a strongly diamagnetic substance, then it will repel. Diamagnetism in materials, induced by very strong modern magnets, can be used to achieve levitation. Even living things like frogs are diamagnetic and can float in a strong magnetic field.


Michael Faraday, whose discoveries in physics revolutionized science, died on August 25, 1867 in London at the age of 75. His wife Sarah lived longer. The couple had no children. He was a devout Christian all his life and belonged to a small Protestant sect, the Sandemanians.

Even during his lifetime, Faraday was offered burial in Westminster Abbey, along with the kings and queens of Great Britain and scientists like Isaac Newton. He declined for a more modest ceremony. His grave, where Sarah is also buried, can be found at Highgate Cemetery in London.

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