Inventor, experimentalist , genius

Michael Faraday is a name most people come across. It’s a name hard to miss in most physics and general science courses. The focus though can sometimes be only on his induction experiment and law, not exploring his complete body of work.Faraday was a hard working, curious individual who proved more than anything, that one can do wonders without formal mathematical training if one compensates for it with strong will to learn, a tremendous work ethic and experimental audacity(he once put his tongue on a wire to check for an electric current).

An experimenter of paramount merit, Faraday laid the foundations for the DC motor. One that machines continue to run on till today. He is thus credited as the inventor of the dynamo. All you need is a battery and a magnet and you can generate mechanical force and motion out of it. Faraday has written about the most basic form of it.

Another interesting experiment was that of the Faraday cage, where Faraday covered the outside of a room with electrical wires (uninsulated just in case you are wondering) and passed charge onto the wires. No charge was measured inside the room. A verification of Gauss’ law of electrostatics. Charge stays on the outside of a closed conductor, the inside is charge free.

What Faraday is most known for, is his experiments on electromagnetic induction, where he worked out the correlation between changing magnetic flux(quantity of magnetism) and electric current. The work was published in 37 pages and Faraday was very thorough in is experiments as well as the documentation. Many a times, other scientists re-performed his experiments and there was a local perception that scientist A was the first to experiment and not Faraday. Faraday tried setting a lot of it straight(politely) through notes in his publications.

Faraday worked as a binder in a shop as a kid and spent his time reading all the books he could get his hands on. He later on worked as an assistant to Sir Humphry Davy helping him with his experiments. He made the best of what he got in life and didn’t miss out in any way because of what he didn’t get. His work was put into math and formalized by James Maxwell, who formed the theoretical basis for Faraday’s induction experiment. The equations form the cornerstone of electromagnetic theory and its transcendence to modern physics.