Michael Faraday

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In existographies, Michael Faraday (164-88 BE) (1791-1867 ACM) (IQ:180|#96) (ID:2.40|75) (Cattell 1000:330) (RGM:18|1,350+) (PR:165|65AE / physicist:5) (Murray 4000: 7|CS / 17|T) (Gottlieb 1000:119) (Becker 160:6|14L) (Simmons 100:11) (Cropper 30:1|EM) (SIG:7) (GPE:11) (CR:120) (LH:5) (TL:125|#89) was an English physicist, chemist, and philosopher, noted for []


Field lines

In 1844, Faraday, in his “A Speculation Touching Electrical Conduction and the Nature of Matter”, speculated that matter was comprised of ultimate atoms as centers of force, and not as so many little bodies surrounded by forces, the bodies being considered in the abstract as independent of the forces and capable of existing without them.[1]

On 15 Apr 1846, Faraday, gave a talk entitled “Thoughts on Ray Vibrations”, wherein, building on his 1844 article, he outlined the precursor ideas to what would later become the “electromagnetic force” (Maxwell, 1861).[2]

This famous talk, of note, this talk was impromptu. Specifically, Faraday was chairing a Friday lecture at the Royal Institution, by Charles Wheatstone, on a device Wheatstone had invented, called a chronoscope, for measuring very short time intervals. Wheatstone, for whatever reason, was no-show, and Faraday, with an audience in front of him, knowing enough about the subject, gave a summary of Wheatstone's chronoscope, leaving ample time to spare. To fill time, Faraday then added his own lecture, entitled “Thoughts on Ray Vibrations”. Faraday's main idea supposed, was that magnetic field lines fill all space, and light propagating in space is a traveling wave, as if they were ropes shaken periodically at their ends. He felt such "transverse" waves, oscillating sideways like waves in molded gelatin ("jello"), explained the way light could be polarized.

In 1864, James Maxwell, ‘A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field’, building on Faraday's ‘Thoughts on Ray Vibrations’ (1846), introduced the model that light is made of waves that are electromagnetic in structure.

Forces of matter

A visual of Faraday's famous "by what means do we move about from place to place" query?[3]

In 1859, Faraday, in his On the Various Forces of Matter, said the following:

“Let us now consider, for a little while, how wonderfully we stand upon this world. Here it is we are born, bred, and live, and yet we view these things with an almost entire absence of wonder to ourselves respecting the way in which all this happens. So small, indeed, is our wonder, that we are never taken by surprise; and I do think that, to a young person of ten, fifteen or twenty years of age, perhaps the first sight of a cataract or a mountain would occasion him more surprise than he had ever felt concerning the means of his own existence: How he came here; how he lives; by what means he stands upright; and through what means he moves about from place to place. We come into this world, we live, and depart from it, without our thoughts being called specifically to consider how all this takes place; and were it not for the exertions of some few inquiring minds, who have looked into these things, and ascertained the very beautiful laws and conditions by which we do live and stand upon the earth, we should hardly be aware that there was anything wonderful in it. These inquiries, which have occupied philosophers from the earliest days, when they first began to find out the laws by which we grow, and exist, and enjoy ourselves, up to the present time, have shown us that all this was effected in consequence of the existence of certain forces, or abilities to do things, or powers, that are so common that nothing can be more so; for nothing is commoner than the wonderful powers by which we are enabled to stand upright: they are essential to our existence every moment.”
— Michael Faraday (1859), On the Various Forces of Matter (pgs. 2-3) [4]

In 66AE, Thims, in his Abioism, began to address some of this query, in respect to forces.[3]



Faraday was influenced by: Isaac Watts.


Faraday influenced: James Maxwell, Oliver Heaviside, Albert Einstein.


Quotes | Employed

The following are quotes employed by Faraday:

“Spend a few thoughts sometimes on the puzzling inquiries concerning vacuums and atoms, the doctrine of infinites, indivisibles, and incommensurables in geometry, wherein there appear some insolvable difficulties: do this on purpose to give you a more sensible impression of the poverty of your understanding and the imperfection of your knowledge. This will teach you what a vain thing it is to fancy that you know all things, and will instruct you to think modestly of your present attainments.”
— Isaac Watts (1727), The Improvement of the Mind (pg. 22)[5]; read by Michael Faraday at age 14

Quotes | On

The following are quotes on Faraday:

“Ohm found that the results could be summed up in such a simple law that he who runs may read it, and a schoolboy now can predict what a Faraday then could only guess at roughly. By Ohm's discovery a large part of the domain of electricity became annexed by Coulomb's discovery of the law of inverse squares, and completely annexed by Green's investigations. Poisson attacked the difficult problem of induced magnetization, and his results, though differently expressed, are still the theory, as a most important first approximation. Ampere brought a multitude of phenomena into theory by his investigations of the mechanical forces between conductors supporting currents and magnets. Then there were the remarkable researches of Faraday, the prince of experimentalists, on electrostatics and electrodynamics and the induction of currents. These were rather long in being brought from the crude experimental state to a compact system, expressing the real essence. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Faraday was not a mathematician. It can scarcely be doubted that had he been one, he would have anticipated much later work. He would, for instance, knowing Ampere's theory, by his own results have readily been led to Neumann’s theory, and the connected work of Helmholtz and Thomson. But it is perhaps too much to expect a man to be both the prince of experimentalists and a competent mathematician.”
— Oliver Heaviside (1891), “Electro-magnetic Theory II”[6]
Faraday showed that a wire suspended with one end free to move and dipping into a bowl of mercury would revolve continuously around a permanent magnet supported in the mercury as long as the wire and the mercury were connected to opposite poles of an electric battery. This discovery of electricity producing motion was the fundamental discovery which eventually led to the invention of the electric motor.”
— Richard Kirby (1956), Engineering in History (pg. 333)[7]

Quotes | By

The following are quotes by Faraday:

“Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature. Let us encourage ourselves by a little more imagination prior to experiment. Let the imagination go, guarding it by judgment and principle, holding it in and directing it by the experiment.”
— Michael Faraday (c.1745), Laboratory Notes[8]

End matter


  1. (a) Faraday, Michael. (1844). “A Speculation Touching Electrical Conduction and the Nature of Matter” (abs) (pdf), Philosophical Magazine, 24(157):136-44.
    (b) Faraday, Michael. (1846). “Thoughts on Ray Vibrations” (pdf) (txt), Philosophical Magazine, 28(188):136-, May.
  2. Faraday, Michael. (1846). “Thoughts on Ray Vibrations” (pdf) (txt), Philosophical Magazine, 28(188):136-, May.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Thims, Libb. (66AE). Abioism: No Thing is Alive, on the Defunct Theory of Life, the Non-Existence of Life, and Life Terminology Reform (pdf). Publisher.
  4. Faraday, Michael. (1859). On the Various Forces of Matter: and their Relation to Each Other. Six lectures delivered before a juvenile auditory at the Royal Institute, during the Christmas Holidays of 1859-60 (pgs. 2-3). Griffin, 1861.
  5. Watts, Isaac. (1727). The Improvement of the Mind. Barnes, 1885.
  6. Heaviside, Oliver. (1891). “Electro-magnetic Theory II” (Ѻ), The Electrician, Jan 16.
  7. Kirby, Richard. (1956). Engineering in History (coauthors: Sidney Withington, Arthur Darling, Frederick Kilgour) (pg. 333). Courier, 1990.
  8. (a) O’Kane, W.C. (1920), “The Day’s Work: the Opportunity of the Daily Contacts in the Life of a Scientific Worker” (pg. 53). , Journal of Economic Entomology (§44-59), Volume 13. Publisher.
    (b) Faraday quotes – GoodReads.

External links

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