Michael Faraday Biography, Inventions, & Facts

Michael Faraday Biography, Inventions, & Facts [2023]

Michael Faraday Biography is an English chemist and experimental physicist, creator of the doctrine of the electromagnetic field. He discovered electromagnetic induction, which is the basis for the industrial production faraday discovered of electricity and its use in modern conditions.

Name : Michael Faraday Biography _

Who is he: chemist , experimental physicist

Birthday: September 22, 1791 (age 73)

Date of death: August 25, 1867

Place of birth: Newington Butts, England

Family status: was married

“As long as people enjoy the benefits of electricity, they will always remember the name of Faraday with gratitude,” said Hermann Helmholtz.

Michael Faraday Biography Childhood and youth

Michael Faraday Biography, Inventions,

Michael Faraday was born on September 22, 1791 at Newington Buttes near London. Father – James Faraday (1761-1810), Englishman by nationality, blacksmith, mother – Margaret (1764-1838). In addition to Michael, the family included brother Robert and sisters Elizabeth and Margaret. They lived poorly, so Michael did not finish school and at the age of 13 went to work in a bookstore as a delivery boy.

I failed to complete my education. The thirst for knowledge was satisfied by reading books on physics and chemistry – there were plenty of them in the bookstore. The young man mastered his first experiments and built a current source – a Leyden jar. Michael’s father and brother encouraged him to explore.

In 1810, a 19-year-old boy became a member of the philosophical club, where lectures were given on physics and astronomy. Michael participated in scientific controversy. The gifted young man bookbinder attracted the attention of the scientific community. Bookstore buyer William Dens gave Michael a gift – a ticket to attend a series of lectures on chemistry and physics by Humphry Davy (the founder of electrochemistry, the discoverer of the chemical elements potassium, calcium, sodium, barium, boron).

The future scientist, having transcribed Humphry Davy’s lectures, bound it and sent it to the professor, accompanied by a letter asking him to find some work for him at the Royal Institution. Davy took part in the fate of the young man, and after some time, 22-year-old Faraday got a job as an assistant in a chemical laboratory.

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Beginning of a Scientific Career Royal Institution

In his youth, while performing the duties of a laboratory assistant, Faraday did not miss the opportunity to listen to lectures in the preparation of which he participated. Also, with the blessing of the professor, the young man carried out his chemical experiments. Conscientiousness and skill in performing the work made him Davy’s constant assistant.

Michael Faraday Biography,

In 1813, Davy took Faraday as his secretary on a two-year European trip. During the trip, the scientist met the luminaries of world science: Andre-Marie Ampère, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, Alessandro Volta.

On his return to London in 1815, Faraday was given the position of assistant. At the same time, he continued what he loved – he conducted his own experiments, of which he conducted about 30 thousand during his life. In scientific circles, for his pedantry and hard work, Faraday received the title of “king of experimenters.” The scientist carefully recorded a description of each experiment in his diaries. Later, in 1931, these diaries were published.

Faraday’s first printed edition was published in 1816, and by 1819, 40 of his works on chemistry had already been published. Later, from a series of experiments with alloys, the young scientist discovered that an alloy of steel with the addition of nickel does not produce oxidation. But the results of the experiments passed by metallurgists; the discovery of stainless steel was patented much later.

In 1820, Michael became technical superintendent of the Royal Institution. By 1821, he moved from chemistry to physics. Faraday already acted as an established scientist and gained weight in the scientific community. An article was published about the principle of operation of an electric motor, which marked the beginning of industrial electrical engineering.

Electromagnetic field laws of Electrolysis

In 1820, Faraday became interested in experiments on the interaction of electricity and magnetic fields. By this time, the concepts of “direct current source” (Alessandro Volta), “electrolysis”, “electric arc”, “electromagnet” had been discovered. During this period, electrostatics and electrodynamics developed, the experiments of Felix Savard and Pierre-Simon Laplace on working with electricity and magnetism were published. André-Marie Ampère’s work on electromagnetism has been published.

Michael Faraday and James Maxwell

In 1821, Faraday’s work “On Some New Electromagnetic Motions and royal institution of great britain the Theory of Magnetism” was published. In the book, the scientist presented experiments with a magnetic needle rotating around one pole, that is, he carried out the transformation of electrical energy into mechanical energy. In fact, he presented as an invention the world’s first, albeit primitive, electric motor.

The joy of discovery was spoiled by the complaint of William Wollaston (discovered palladium and rhodium, designed a refractometer and goniometer). In a complaint to Professor Davy, the scientist accused his colleague of stealing the idea of a rotating magnetic needle. The story took on a scandalous character. Davy accepted Wollaston’s position. Only a personal meeting between the two scientists and Faraday explaining his position could resolve the conflict. The opponent abandoned his claims, but the relationship between Davy and his student lost its former trust. At the same time, the first never tired of repeating that Faraday was the main discovery he made.

Faraday soon became a corresponding member of the Paris Academy of Sciences. In January 1824, the researcher was elected a member of the Royal Society of London, with Professor Davy voting against. A year later, Michael took the place of his mentor as director of the laboratory of physics and chemistry at the Royal Institution.

After the work published in 1821, the scientist did not publish works for 10 years. In 1831, he became a professor at Woolwich (military academy), and a couple of years later he became a professor of chemistry at the Royal Institution, conducting scientific debates and giving lectures.

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Back in 1820, Faraday became interested in the experiment of Hans Oersted: movement along an electric current circuit caused the movement of a magnetic needle. Michael hypothesized that, accordingly, magnetism could be the cause of electric current. The first mention of the theory appeared in the scientist’s diary in 1822. It took 10 years of experiments to unravel the mystery of electromagnetic induction.

Scientist Michael Faraday

Victory came on August 29, 1831. The device that allowed Faraday to make an ingenious discovery consisted of an iron ring and many turns of copper wire wound on its 2 halves. In the circuit of one half of the ring, closed by a wire, there was a magnetic needle. The second winding was connected to the battery. When the current was turned on, the magnetic needle oscillated in one direction, and when turned off, in the other. Faraday concluded that a magnet was capable of converting magnetism into electrical energy.

The phenomenon of the occurrence of electric current in a closed circuit when the magnetic flux passing through it changes was called electromagnetic induction. Its discovery paved the way for the creation of a current source – an electric generator.

The discovery of this law marked the beginning of a new fruitful round of experiments by the scientist, which gave the world “Experimental Research on Electricity.” Faraday experimentally proved the uniform nature of the generation of electrical energy, independent of the method by which the electric current is generated. In 1832, the physicist was awarded the Copley Medal.

Faraday became the author of the first transformer. He came up with the concept of dielectric constant. In 1836, through a series of experiments, he proved that the charge of the current affects only the shell of the conductor, leaving the objects inside it untouched. In applied science, a device made on the principle of this phenomenon is called a “Faraday cage”.

Further research Humphry Davy Apprenticeship

Michael’s discoveries are not only about physics. In 1824 he discovered benzene and isobutylene. The scientist derived a liquid form of chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, ethylene, nitrogen dioxide, and synthesized hexachlorane.

In 1835, Faraday was forced to take a two-year break from work due to illness. The cause of the disease could have been the scientist’s contact with mercury vapor during experiments. Having worked for a short time after recovery, in 1840 the professor again felt unwell. He was plagued by weakness and experienced temporary memory loss. The recovery period dragged on for 4 years. In 1841, at the insistence of doctors, the scientist went on a trip to Europe.

At the same time, the genius’s family lived almost in poverty. According to Faraday’s biographer John Tyndall, the scientist received a pension of 22 pounds a year. In 1841, Prime Minister William Lamb, Lord Melbourne, under public pressure, signed a decree granting Faraday a state pension of £300 per year.

In 1845, the great scientist managed to attract the attention of the world community with some more discoveries: changes in the plane of polarized light in a magnetic field (“Faraday effect”) and diamagnetism (magnetization of a substance in the direction opposite to the external magnetic field acting on it).

Civil service Magnetism Benzene

The British government has repeatedly asked Michael Faraday for help in solving problems related to technical issues. The scientist developed a program for equipping lighthouses, methods to combat ship corrosion, and acted as a forensic expert. Being a good-natured and peace-loving person by nature, he flatly refused to participate in the creation of chemical weapons for the war with world in the Crimean campaign.

In 1848, Queen Victoria gave Faraday a house on the left bank of the Thames – Hampton Court. The British Crown paid the costs of housing maintenance and taxes. The scientist, leaving his business in 1858, moved there with his family.

The physicist periodically returned to research. He introduced the terms “anode”, “cathode”, “electrode”, “electrolyte”. His lectures were heard at the Royal Institution, and popular science meetings were called “Fridays”.

Michael Faraday at the Royal Institution

Michael’s ideas were further developed in the work of other scientists. Thus, James Maxwell published the scientific work “On Faraday’s Lines of Force” during the lifetime of the author of the concept. A senior colleague read the book with interest, and Maxwell received his approval.

In 1862, the researcher put forward a hypothesis about the movement of spectral lines in a magnetic field. Peter Zeeman was able to confirm the theory in 1897, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1902. Zeeman named Faraday as the author of the idea.

Personal life

Michael Faraday was married to Sarah Barnard (1800–1879), his friend’s sister. The 20-year-old girl did not immediately accept the marriage proposal – the young scientist had to worry. But their personal life was happy. The quiet wedding took place on June 12, 1821. Many years later Michael wrote:

“I got married – an event that, more than any other, contributed to my happiness on earth and my healthy state of mind.”

The physicist’s family, as well as his own wives, were members of the Protestant Sandemanian community. Faraday performed the work of deacon of the London community and was repeatedly elected as an elder.


Faraday was often sick. Researchers suggest that the scientist’s health was undermined by constant work with mercury. The meticulous physicist often used this metal in his work and unwittingly inhaled fumes that were harmful to humans. The first manifestations of long-term poisoning appeared in him at the age of 49. The main symptom was rapid memory loss. In brief moments, when the illness subsided, he returned to work.

Michael Faraday died at his desk on August 25, 1867, aged 75. The cause of death was the scientist’s illness. He is buried next to his wife in Highgate Cemetery in London. Before his death, the physicist asked for a modest funeral, so only relatives came. The name of the scientist and the years of his life are carved on the gravestone.


  • 1827 – “Chemical Manipulations”
  • 1839-1855 – “Experimental research on electricity”
  • 1859 — “Experimental research in chemistry and physics”
  • 1860 — “Six lectures on the various forces of matter and their relationships”
  • 1861 — “The History of a Candle”

Interesting Facts

  • In his work, the researcher did not forget about the children. Lectures for youth “The History of a Candle” (1961) are still being republished to this day.
  • Faraday’s portrait appears on the British £20 note from 1991–1999.
  • There were rumors that Davy did not respond to Faraday’s request for work. One day, having temporarily lost his sight during a chemical experiment, the professor remembered the persistent young man. Having become the scientist’s secretary, Michael so impressed Davy with his erudition that he offered him a job in the laboratory.
  • After returning from a European tour with his mentor’s family, Faraday worked there as a dishwasher while awaiting an assistantship at the Royal Institution.
  • Several documentaries, including those from the “Famous People” series, are devoted to the scientist’s biography.


Who was Michael Faraday?

Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was a British scientist known for his pioneering work in the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. He is considered one of the greatest experimentalists in the history of science.

What are some of Michael Faraday’s most significant contributions to science?

Faraday made several groundbreaking contributions, including the discovery of electromagnetic induction, the laws of electrolysis, and the concept of field lines in electromagnetism.

What is electromagnetic induction, and why is it important?

Electromagnetic induction is the process by which a changing magnetic field induces an electromotive force (EMF) or voltage in a conductor. Faraday’s discovery of this phenomenon laid the foundation for modern electrical power generation and transmission.

What are Faraday’s laws of electrolysis?

Faraday’s laws describe the quantitative relationships between the amount of substance produced during an electrolytic reaction and the amount of electric charge passed through the electrolyte. They are fundamental principles in electrochemistry.

What is Faraday’s concept of field lines?

Faraday introduced the concept of field lines to visualize the distribution of electric and magnetic forces in space. This idea later influenced James Clerk Maxwell in formulating his electromagnetic field equations.

Did Michael Faraday receive formal education in science?

No, Faraday had only basic formal education and was largely self-taught. He started as an apprentice to a bookbinder and gained his scientific knowledge through extensive reading and hands-on experimentation.

What is the Faraday cage?

A Faraday cage is an enclosure made of conductive material that can block external electromagnetic fields. It is named after Michael Faraday, who first demonstrated its principles.

What other honors and recognitions did Michael Faraday receive during his lifetime?

Faraday received numerous honors, including the Royal Society’s Copley Medal and the Rumford Medal. He was also offered a knighthood, which he declined.

How did Michael Faraday’s work influence future generations of scientists?

Faraday’s discoveries formed the basis for much of the subsequent development in electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His ideas continue to be fundamental to modern physics and engineering.

What is Michael Faraday’s legacy in the field of science?

Michael Faraday is considered one of the most influential scientists in history. His work laid the groundwork for many technological advancements, including electric power generation, transmission, and the development of numerous electronic devices.

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I am a dedicated full-time author, researcher, historian, and editor. These areas of expertise encompass art, architecture, and the exploration of common threads across diverse civilizations. I hold a Master's degree in Political Philosophy and serve as the Publishing Editor at Evidence News.

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