On this day, September 22, 1791 in South London, England, Michael Faraday was born. Faraday’s work in chemistry, electricity, and magnetism were instrumental in advancing science in the 19th century. Sadly, because of the prejudice of the society of the time, Faraday was not considered a gentleman and did not receive as much honor and respect in his early years as he deserved. In the 20th century we have made up for this a bit by awarding him an honor only a very few receive, the SI unit of capacitance is named the farad to honor his work.
There is a lot of good information about him on the web so rather than repeat it here I’ll send you to the references cited below and end this post with one of my favorite Faraday quotes. In his laboratory notebook dated March 19, 1849 at the end of many paragraphs of deep thoughts he writes:
ALL THIS IS A DREAM. Still examine it by a few experiments. Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature; and in such things as these, experiment is the best test of such consistency. (from “The Life and Letters of Faraday” By Bence Jones Vol. II page 253)
Faraday’s rock solid belief that only through meticulous repeatable experiments could the truth of nature be divined is as essential in the 21st century as it was in the 19th. So, lets all celebrate the life of this self educated, lower class, son of a blacksmith who laid the foundations for much of our present technological society.
The Life and Letters of Faraday By Bence Jones Vol. I
The Life and Letters of Faraday By Bence Jones Vol. II
Written by Michael Faraday:
from Project Gutenberg
Experimental Researches in Electricity, Volume 1
The Chemical History of a Candle by Michael Faraday