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Michael Faraday- his life and work

An online exhibition looking at the life and work of Michael Faraday with particular emphasis on his work as a lecturer, his travels in Europe, his correspondence with artists and his interest in photography.

Portriat of Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday (1791 - 1867) was born in Newington Butts, Surrey, on 22 September 1791. Born into humble conditions, brought up in the Sandemanian sect of the Christian Church he made a name for himself in the scientific world, despite his lack of formal education,  through his outstanding discoveries, observations and experiments. His scientific work laid the foundations of all subsequent electro-technology. 

From his experiments came devices which led directly to the modern electric motor, generator and transformer. Faraday was also the greatest scientific lecturer of his day, who did much to publicise the great advances of nineteenth-century science and technology through his articles, correspondence and the Friday evening discourses which he established at the Royal Institution. The Royal Institution Christmas lectures for children, begun by Faraday, continue to this day.

However, Faraday is celebrated for his work with electricity. In 1821, soon after the Danish chemist, Oersted, discovered the phenomenon of electromagnetism, Faraday built two devices to produce what he called electromagnetic rotation: that is a continuous circular motion from the circular magnetic force around a wire. Ten years later, in 1831, he began his great series of experiments in which he discovered electromagnetic induction. These experiments form the basis of modern electromagnetic technology.

More information about Faraday's life and work can be found in the Michael Faraday biography.

Next page → Faraday the Lecturer

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