Sunday, November 24, 2019

Michael Faraday (22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867): British physicist and chemist

Michael Faraday was born in 1791 in the village of Newington, now part of the urban area of London. His father was a blacksmith who had migrated from the north of England earlier in 1791 to look for work and his family was able to allow him but the most basic education.

He was hired in a London bookshop, run by Mr. George Riebau. This work enabled Michael Faraday to read many books, that passed through the bookshop of Mr. Riebau. In his spare time he was an avid reader, teaching himself many scientific concepts.

With the help of a customer of the shop, in 1812 Faraday was able to attend the public lectures of one of the most famous scientists of the day, the chemist Humphry Davy, director of the Royal Society. For our Michael it was a veritable godsend, and perhaps precisely for this reason, also thanks to his curiosity and his initiative, he was able to exploit this opportunity more than anyone else.

In 1813 he was appointed as Chemical Assistant at the Royal Institution. During his stay at the Royal Institution, Faraday managed to obtain the two fundamental laws of electrolysis.

*First LAW: For a given solution, the quantity of matter that is deposited on the electrodes is proportional to the amount of charge which passes through the solution. This implies that the ions carrying the charge through the solution have a well-defined electric charge.

*Second LAW: The monovalent ions of different sub-stances carry an equal quantity of electric charge, while the bi- or tri-valent ones carry a correspondingly higher charge.

Faraday, who became one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century, began his career as a chemist. He wrote a manual of practical chemistry that reveals his mastery of the technical aspects of his art, discovered a number of new organic compounds, among them benzene, and was the first to liquefy a “permanent” gas.

His major contribution, however, was in the field of electricity and magnetism. He was the first to produce an electric current from a magnetic field, invented the first electric motor and dynamo, demonstrated the relation between electricity and chemical bonding, discovered the effect of magnetism on light, and discovered and named diamagnetism, the peculiar behaviour of certain substances in strong magnetic fields.

Faraday was the author of numerous publications in scientific journals. his main contributions are collected in his Laboratory Journal, which he hold regularly from 1820 until 1862.

History of Faraday’s scientific discoveries·
*1810-1820 First Electrochemical Experiments·
*1820-1830 Electrical conduction experiments·
*1831 Law of electromagnetic induction·
*1832-1833 Laws of electrolysis·
*1837-39 Dielectric materials·
*1845-1846 Diamagnetism and Faraday effect·
*1855 Studies on paramagnetism

In 1833 he was appointed professor of chemistry at the Royal Institution and step by step he became famous worldwide. He also distinguished himself for his oratory, communication and outreach skills.
Michael Faraday (22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867): British physicist and chemist

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