Michael Faraday: Fantastic Facts About The Father of Electricity
By Vandya Rai
Sep 21, 2022
Faraday never had a formal scientific education growing up. When he was 14, he apprenticed with a bookbinder. He read books on science and the world in his spare time, including Jane Marcet's Conversations in Chemistry, which opened up a new chapter in his life.
For the Love of Learning
Faraday admired Sir Humphrey Davy, a renowned chemist. After attending the scientist’s lectures, Faraday mailed him a 300-page bundle of his notes. Davy was so impressed by his intelligence that he hired him as an assistant at the Royal Institution!
A Marvellous Mentor
In 1822, Faraday built a device using a magnet, liquid mercury, and a current-carrying wire that turned electrical energy into mechanical energy. He created the first electric motor, thus changing the world forever.
The Groundbreaking Experiment
A decade later, Faraday discovered the principle of electromagnetic induction. His machine had a copper disc that rotated between the two poles of a horseshoe magnet, producing its own power. This was the Faraday Disc, which became the first electric generator.
Faraday invented the rubber balloon! In 1824, he combined two sheets of rubber filled with hydrogen for his experiments. He was impressed by its “considerable ascending power”. The invention was sold as children’s toys the following year.
An Unexpected Invention
We have Faraday to thank for keeping our drinks cold. During an experiment in 1823, he heated chlorine hydrate in a V-shaped tube. It triggered an explosion, which cooled down the surrounding air. This accidental discovery led to the making of ice machines and refrigerators.
Faraday’s innovations were so groundbreaking that they did not even have names. Along with fellow scientist William Whewell, he coined the scientific terminology we know today — cathode, electrode, anode, and ion.
What’s in a Name?
Faraday never stopped experimenting throughout his life. After discovering the concept of electromagnetic induction, he also revolutionised electrochemistry and formed the First and Second Laws of Electrolysis, laying the foundation for modern industry.
A Self-Made Scientist
Albert Einstein had a portrait of Faraday hung on the wall of his study, alongside the legendary physicists, Sir Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell. He inspired Einstein in many ways. Faraday forever paved the path for revolutionary work by future scientists.
Einstein’s Personal Hero
“Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it is consistent with the laws of nature.”
“But still try for who knows what is possible!”
“There’s nothing quite as frightening as someone who knows they are right.”
“No matter what you look at, if you look at it closely enough, you are involved in the entire universe.”
Electrifying Quotes by Michael Faraday