Michael Faraday Essay

874 words - 3 pages

Michael Faraday could be labeled the "underdog of modern science". The son of a poor blacksmith, Faraday was no stranger to hard work, which was perhaps the exact opposite of many of his contemporaries, who came from wealthy backgrounds and studied science as a sort of extracurricular activity.

Although Faraday was unsuccessful when it came to money, he was very successful in the field of science, namely electric science. One of his most important discoveries is that of electro-magnetic induction. It was this experiment, and others of the like, that brought about the discoveries of Maxwell, Rutherford, and Einstein, and elevated Faraday from the son of a poor blacksmith, to a great man of modern science.

A Book Binder

Michael Faraday was born in the year 1791 in Newington, Surrey England. His parents were poor, and in 1796 his father moved the family to London in search of better work as a blacksmith. His father was a sickly man, and because of this Michael found work at the age of 13 as an errand boy for a local bookbinder.

Mr. Riebau, the owner of the bookbinding shop, hired the boy to deliver books and newsletters to his patrons. During breaks, Riebau encouraged Michael to read books and to study. As Faraday grew older, he began attending local lectures held by John Tatum. At the lectures he took shorthand notes, and later rewrote the notes in more depth. While attending Tatum's lectures, Faraday became increasingly interested in chemistry as well as electricity. It was through these lectures that Faraday learned most of what he knew about electricity, galvanism, hydrostatics, optics and geology (Williams).

In 1813, at the age of 21, Faraday became a lab assistant at the Royal Institute in London under the well known scientist Sir Humphrey Davy. Under Davy, Faraday washed test tubes, and assembled lab equipment for Davy public lectures. With the little time he had after his duties, Faraday began conducting some of his own elementary experiments (Kaplan).
In the years that followed, Faraday continued to learn and practice experiments at the Royal Institute. In 1821, he married a young lady from his church named Sarah Barnard, and the couple moved in to the upstairs of the Royal Institute. This still did not inhibit Faraday love of science. He continued to work hard, and in that same year, he invented the electric motor (Agassi).

Through all his hard work, Faraday became ill in his late years. He was often very sickly, but remained at the Royal Institute working hard as ever. He was offered many accolades for...

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