Michael Faraday

Photograph of Michael Faraday
Photograph of Michael Faraday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chemist, Physicist

‘Are Us’ Fun Fact: Michael Faraday’s father was a poverty-stricken blacksmith who worked in the village of Newington in Surrey, England and the family hardly ever had enough to eat.

Favorite Quote: “Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature.”

1791, Faraday was brought into the world to provide many contributions to physics and chemistry. An English scientist, he contributed enormously to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

As a chemist, Michael discovered the organic chemical compound Benzine (Interesting Benzine Video); it has the molecular formula C6H6, a molecule composed of six carbon atoms glued in a ring with just one hydrogen atom attached to each of the atoms of carbon. In 1825, Faraday did this by isolating the oily residue derived from the production of illuminating gas. Neat to say the least!

He also contributed to the early form of the Bunsen burner, the system of oxidation numbers which popularized terms like cathode, ion and electrode.

Lets dive into what he’s known for, starting with, Faraday’s law of induction. What’s that all about? Essentially referring to electromagnetic induction, it shows the production of voltage across a conductor when it is exposed to a varying magnetic field. This field of electromagnetism is part of the four fundamental interactions in nature, the other three are the Strong and Weak Nuclear interaction and finally what holds my butt to my seat, gravitation. Specifically, electromagnetic induction is a basic law of electromagnetism predicting how a magnetic field will interact with an electric circuit to produce an electromotive force (EMF). It is the fundamental operating principle of transformersinductors, and many types of electrical motors,generators and solenoids.

English: Diagram of a solenoid and its magneti...
English: Diagram of a solenoid and its magnetic field lines. The shape of all lines is correct according to the laws of electrodynamics. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Electrochemisty, a branch of chemistry that primarily focuses on the reactions of chemicals which take place in a solution at the midst of an electron conductor and an ionic conductor both receptively called by Faraday, the electrode and the electrolyte.

In the Faraday Effect, the interaction light and a magnetic field in a medium. This “effect causes a rotation of the plan of polarization” this concludes that light and electromagnetism are related, this theoretical basis of electromagnetic radiation was finished by James Clerk Maxwell in the 1860s and 70s.

A Faraday cage in operation: the woman inside ...
A Faraday cage in operation: the woman inside is protected from the electric arc by the cage. Photograph taken at the Palais de la Découverte (Discovery Palace). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other contributions include,

The Faraday constant, showing the magnitude of electric charge per pole of electrons.

The Faraday Cup, a metal cup created to catch charged particles in a vacuum. This allows the cup to determine the number of ions or electrons actually hitting the cup.

The ion, a atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons which would obviously give the net  positive or negative charge.

Laws of Electrolysis:

First Law – “The mass of a substance altered at an electrode during electrolysis is directly proportional to the quantity of electricity transferred at that electrode. Quantity of electricity refers to the quantity of electrical charge, typically measured in coulomb.”

Second Law –  For a given quantity of D.C electricity (electric charge), the mass of an elemental material altered at an electrode is directly proportional to the element’s equivalent weight.

Faraday rotator; an optical device that rotates the polarization of light due to the Faraday effect, which in turn is based on a magneto-optic effect.

Good to know right?!

So, very well know as a science communicator, he became a Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Faraday’s affect on England was huge, being granted knighthood for his achievements, he declined. Then, refusing to the British government once more for requesting his expertise for chemical weaponry for the Crimean War (1853–1856).

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4 thoughts on “Michael Faraday

  1. It’s just crazy how Faraday had no formal education (and no means to get one) yet he goes on to become one of the biggest movers and shakers in scientific history. And all because he just loved what he did.

    True genius. ❤ My favorite

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