Scientist. A British researcher of broad impact and singular accomplishment, Michael Faraday made an indelible impact on several fields of science, including chemistry, physics, and engineering. Child of a poor family, Faraday was apprenticed at age 14 to a London bookbinder. After reading several articles on electricity, performing several rudimentary experiments with electrostatic generators, and compiling a beautiful manuscript of leading scientist Humphrey Davy's lecture notes, Faraday joined the Royal Institution as Davy's secretary and, later, laboratory assistant in 1812. He became secretary of that institution in 1821, succeeded Davy as director of the laboratory in 1825, and assumed the Fullerian Chair of Chemistry in 1833. Among Faraday's early successes in laboratory science were the discovery and isolation of several organic compounds, including benzene in 1825 and the first known organic compounds containing chlorine. Though these accomplishments would have been enough to cement Faraday's name as one of the preeminent scientists of the era, Faraday's most prominent achievements would come in the investigation of electromagnetism. Moving into the field because of his conviction that electromagnetic forces were the basis of most chemical processes (a belief that is generally accepted today), Faraday demonstrated electromagnetism's ability to create sustained rotary motion in 1821 by spinning a current-carrying wire around a magnetic pole solely through the application of electric current; the principles underlying this demonstration provided the basis for the electric motor. In 1831, Faraday demonstrated the principle of electric induction, and applied this principle later that year to create the first electric generator by spinning a copper disc between the poles of a permanent magnet. To explain these experimental effects conceptually, Faraday formulated the first theories of electromagnetic lines of force. After further experiments with electrolysis showing that molecules in a solution broke down even when they were not directly affected by electromagnetism, Faraday expanded these theories, positing the existence of interrelated fields of energy that surrounded objects. (Though Faraday himself always insisted that he kept his scientific and spiritual pursuits separate, some biographers maintain that Faraday's work on field theory was driven by his strongly-held Christian belief in an all-encompassing divine power.) Faraday supported his field thesis by generating electricity with an early form of photoelectric cell, proving, in effect, that light was a form of electromagnetic energy; he would establish a converse link between electromagnetism and light by demonstrating magnetism's effect on polarized light moving through certain types of glass. In sum, Faraday's work laid important foundations in organic chemistry, provided the foundation for the theoretical physics of Einstein and his successors in quantum physics, and for all practical purposes established the possibility of electrical engineering.
Bio by: Stuthehistoryguy
Sarah Barnard Faraday