Who Was Michael Faraday and Why Is Michael Faraday One of the Most Influential Scientists In History?

Michael Faraday was born in 1791 in Newington, near London, England.

His father was a blacksmith and the family was very poor. There were times when the young Faraday had only bread to eat.

Faraday’s family belonged to a small Christian sect called the Sandemanians. Its founder, Robert Sandeman, believed that the greatest achievement a person could have in life was to “add to mankind’s knowledge of God’s universe.”

Despite this, Faraday’s formal education consisted only of learning the three Rs, reading, writing, and arithmetic, at Sunday school.

At 13, even that education ended and Faraday became an apprentice to a bookbinder. It was the turning point in his life.

In his new job, he was able to read many books, especially the science books he loved so much.

In 1810, Faraday attended a series of lectures by England’s most famous scientist, Sir Humphry Davy. Faraday was so impressed with Davy that he wrote the great scientist asking for a job and included the notes he had taken on Davy’s lectures.

Davy hired him and many years later would admit, “The greatest of all my discoveries is Faraday.”

Faraday’s most significant contributions in science were to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

He discovered electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and laws of electrolysis, and that magnetism could affect rays of light.

Faraday coined all the following electrical terms: electrode, anode, cathode, electrolyte, and ion.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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