Saturday, February 23, 2013

Michael Faraday (1791–1867)

Faraday was born near London into a family of very  limited means. At the age of 14 he was an apprentice to a kind bookbinder who allowed Faraday to read the books he was binding. Through a fortunate chance he became laboratory assistant to Davy, and during 1813-4, Faraday accompanied him to the Continent. During this trip he gained much from the experience of coming into contact with many of the leading scientists of the time. In 1825, he succeeded Davy as Director of the Royal Institution laboratories, and in 1833 he also became the first Fullerian Professor of Chemistry. Faraday’s first important work was on analytical chemistry. After 1821 much of his work was on electricity and magnetism and different electromagnetic phenomena. His ideas have led to the establishment of modern field theory. He discovered his two laws of electrolysis in 1834. Faraday was a very modest and kind hearted person. He declined all honours and avoided scientific controversies. He preferred to work alone and never had any assistant. He disseminated science in a variety of ways including his Friday evening discourses, which he founded at the Royal Institution. He has been very famous for his Christmas lecture on the ‘Chemical History of a Candle’. He published nearly 450 scientific papers.

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