Michael Faraday Biography

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Who is Michael Faraday?

Michael Faraday was an English scientist who made important contributions to the fields of electrochemistry and electromagnetism. The concepts underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and electrolysis were among his most important discoveries.

Despite his lack of formal education, Faraday was one of the most prominent scientists in history. Faraday provided the foundation for the idea of the electromagnetic field in physics through his experiments on the magnetic field around a conductor holding a direct current. Faraday also discovered that magnetism could influence light rays and that the two phenomena had an underlying relationship.

He also discovered the rules of electrolysis and the concepts of electromagnetic induction and diamagnetism. His electromagnetic rotary system designs laid the groundwork for electric motor technology, and it was because of his efforts that electricity became useful in technology. Faraday was an excellent experimenter who communicated his ideas in simple language; however, his mathematical skills were limited to the simplest algebra.

Michael Faraday’s Information

Faraday’s date of birth: September 22, 1791

Faraday’s place of birth: Newington Butts, England

Faraday’s date of death: August 25, 1867

Faraday’s Place of death: Hampton Court, London, England

Spouse:  Sarah Barnard ​(m. 1821)

Michael Faraday’s Inventions

Faraday’s Law of Induction; 

Faraday Effect; 

Faraday Cage;

Faraday Constant; 

Faraday’s laws of electrolysis etc.

About Michael Faraday

History of Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday was born on September 22, 1791, in Newington Butts, a Surrey suburb that is now part of the London Borough of Southwark. His family did not have a lot of income. James, his father, belonged to the Glassite Christian sect. During the winter of 1790, James Faraday moved his wife and two children from Outhgill, Westmorland, to London, where he had worked as an apprentice to the village blacksmith. In the autumn of that year, Michael was born. Michael Faraday, the third of four brothers, had to educate himself after receiving only a basic school education.

He began working as an apprentice to George Riebau, a local bookbinder and bookseller on Blandford Street when he was 14 years old. Faraday read a lot of books during his seven-year apprenticeship, including Isaac Watts' The Improvement of the Mind, of which he vigorously applied the given principles and recommendations. He also became interested in science, especially electricity. Jane Marcet's book Conversations on Chemistry was especially inspiring to Faraday.

Faraday attended lectures by eminent English chemist Humphry Davy of the Royal Institution and the Royal Society, and John Tatum, member of the City Philosophical Society, in 1812, when he was 20 years old and approaching the end of his apprenticeship. 

William Dance, one of the Royal Philharmonic Society's members, gave Faraday a large number of tickets to these lectures. Faraday then sent Davy a 300-page book based on the notes he made during these lectures. When Davy's eyesight was destroyed in an accident with nitrogen trichloride in 1813, he decided to hire Faraday as an assistant.

On the same day that one of the Royal Institution's assistants, John Payne, was shot, Sir Humphry Davy was asked to find a replacement; as a result, on March 1, 1813, he appointed Faraday as Chemical Assistant at the Royal Institution. Davy soon entrusted Faraday with the preparation of nitrogen trichloride samples, and they were both hospitalised when this highly sensitive material exploded.

Faraday was awarded an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree by the University of Oxford in June 1832. During his lifetime, he was given a knighthood in recognition of his contributions to science, which he declined on religious grounds, claiming that accumulating wealth and seeking worldly reward was against the word of God, and preferring to remain "plain Mr Faraday to the end." He was elected a member of the Royal Society in 1824, but he declined to be President on two occasions. In 1833, he was appointed as the first Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution.

Faraday was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a Foreign Honorary Member in 1832. In 1838, he was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences as a foreign member, and in 1844, he was one of eight foreign members elected to the French Academy of Sciences. He was elected as an associate member of the Royal Institute of the Netherlands in 1849, which became the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences two years later, and he was later promoted to foreign member.

Faraday had a nervous breakdown in 1839, but he recovered and resumed his electromagnetism research. Faraday was granted a grace and favour house in Hampton Court, Middlesex, in 1848, as a result of the Prince Consort's representations. The house was free of all expenses and maintenance. This was the Master Mason's Home, which later became known as Faraday House and is now known as No. 37 Hampton Court Road. Faraday moved there in 1858 to retire.

Faraday declined to engage in the manufacture of chemical weapons for use in the Crimean War (1853–1856) after providing a variety of different service projects for the British government. He cited ethical grounds for his refusal.

Michael Faraday Information: Marriage and Family

On June 12, 1821, Faraday married Sarah Barnard (1800–1879). They met at the Sandemanian church through their friends, and he confessed his faith to the Sandemanian congregation a month after they married. They didn't have any children.

Faraday was a devout Christian who belonged to the Sandemanian sect of the Church of Scotland. He served as a deacon and an elder in the meeting house where he grew up for two terms after his marriage. Paul's Alley in the Barbican was the location of his church.

This meeting house moved to Barnsbury Grove, Islington, in 1862, and it was here that Faraday spent the final two years of his second term as an elder before resigning.

Michael Faraday Inventions

Michael Faraday, known for his discovery of electromagnetic induction and laws of electrolysis, has a number of scientific achievements under his belt. Below are a few inventions/discoveries by him-

1. Faraday’s Law of Induction: 

  • Faraday's law of induction (also known as Faraday's law) is a fundamental law of electromagnetism that describes how a magnetic field interacts with an electric circuit to create an electromotive force (EMF), a phenomenon known as electromagnetic induction. Transformers, inductors, and several types of electrical motors, generators, and solenoids all work on this principle.

  • Faraday's law was discovered, and one of its aspects (transformer EMF) was later developed as the Maxwell–Faraday equation. 

  • The Maxwell–Faraday equation states that a spatially varying (and possibly also time-varying, depending on how a magnetic field varies in time) electric field always accompanies a time-varying magnetic field, while Faraday's law states that there is EMF (electromotive force, described as electromagnetic work done on a unit charge when it has travelled a certain distance).

  • The Maxwell–Faraday equation (which describes transformer EMF) and the Lorentz force can be used to derive Faraday's law (describing motional EMF).

2. Faraday Effect: 

  • The magneto-optic Faraday effect (MOFE), also known as the Faraday effect or Faraday rotation, is a physical magneto-optical phenomenon. The Faraday effect induces polarisation rotation that is proportional to the magnetic field projection along the light propagation direction. Formally, when the dielectric permittivity tensor is diagonal, it is a special case of gyro electromagnetism.

  • The Faraday effect, discovered by Michael Faraday in 1845, was the first experimental proof that light and electromagnetism are related. In the 1860s and 1870s, James Clerk Maxwell and Oliver Heaviside completed the theoretical foundation of electromagnetic radiation (which includes visible light). Under the influence of magnetic fields, this phenomenon occurs in most optically transparent dielectric materials (including liquids).

  • Circular birefringence, a property that causes the Faraday effect, is caused by left and right circularly polarised waves propagating at slightly different speeds. Since a linear polarisation can be decomposed into the superposition of two equal-amplitude circularly polarised components of opposite handedness and phase, a relative phase shift caused by the Faraday effect rotates the linear polarisation of a wave.

3. Faraday Cage: 

A Faraday cage, also known as a Faraday shield, is an electromagnetic field-blocking enclosure. A Faraday shield may be made out of a continuous layer of conductive material, or a mesh of such materials in the case of a Faraday cage. 

4. Faraday Constant: 

Michael Faraday is the name of the Faraday constant, which is denoted by the symbol F and sometimes stylized as F. This constant represents the magnitude of electric charge per mole of electrons in chemistry and physics.   

F = 96485.33212... Cmol 

5. Faraday’s Laws of Electrolysis: 

Faraday's laws of electrolysis are quantitative relationships derived from Michael Faraday's electrochemical study published in 1833.

  • First Law

The mass (m) of elements deposited at an electrode is directly proportional to the charge (Q in ampere seconds or coulombs), according to Michael Faraday.

m ∝ Q

⇒ \[\frac{m}{Q}\] = Z

The electrochemical equivalent (e.c.e) of the substance is the constant of proportionality Z. As a result, the mass of the substance deposited/liberated per unit charge can be defined as the e.c.e.

  • Second Law

Faraday discovered that the mass of the substance liberated/deposited at the electrodes in g is directly proportional to their chemical equivalent/equivalent weight(E) when the same amount of electric current is passed through different electrolytes/elements connected in series. This is calculated by dividing the molar mass (M) by the valence (v)

m ∝ E

E = \[\frac{\text{Molar mass}}{\text{Valance}}\]

⇒ m₁ : m₂ : m₃ :........= E₁ : E₂ : E₃ : ……

⇒Z₁Q : Z₂Q : Z₃Q : ……... = E₁ : E₂ : E₃ :......(From 1st law) 

⇒Z₁ : Z₂ : Z₃ : ……... = E₁ : E₂ : E₃ :....

Michael Faraday Scientist

Let us elaborate on Michael Faraday Discovery as a Chemist and Physicist.


Faraday began his chemistry career as a chemist's assistant to Humphry Davy. Faraday was particularly interested in the study of chlorine, and he found two new chlorine-carbon compounds. He also carried out the first rudimentary experiments on gas diffusion, which was first observed by John Dalton.

Faraday was active in liquefying several gases, researching steel alloys, and producing several new forms of optical glass. A specimen of one of these heavy glasses became historically significant after Faraday determined the rotation of the plane of polarization of light when the glass was put in a magnetic field.

Faraday developed an early version of what would become the Bunsen burner, which is still used as a convenient source of heat in science laboratories around the world. Faraday was a chemist who discovered chemical compounds like benzene (which he called bicarbonate of hydrogen) and liquefied gases like chlorine.

Faraday announced the first synthesis of carbon and chlorine compounds, C₂Cl₆ and C₂Cl₄, in 1820, and published his findings the following year. Faraday also deduced the chemical structure of the chlorine clathrate hydrate, which Humphry Davy had discovered in 1810.

Faraday is often credited with discovering the laws of electrolysis and popularising concepts like anode, cathode, electrode, and ion, which were first proposed by William Whewell. He was the first to identify metallic nanoparticles, as they are now known. In 1847, he discovered that gold colloids had different optical properties than the corresponding bulk metal. This was most certainly the first discovery of the effects of quantum size, and it could be considered the beginning of nanoscience.    

Electricity and Magnetism 

Faraday's work on electricity and magnetism is what he is best known for. The creation of a voltaic pile of seven British halfpenny coins, seven discs of sheet zinc, and six pieces of paper moistened with salt water was his first known experiment. He broke down the sulphate of magnesia with this pile.

Faraday continued his laboratory work after his initial observation in 1821, investigating the electromagnetic properties of materials and gaining the necessary knowledge. Faraday set up a circuit in 1824 to see whether a magnetic field could influence current flow in an adjacent wire, but he found no such relationship. This experiment followed three years of related experiments with light and magnets, which yielded identical results. Faraday spent the next seven years perfecting his formula for optical consistency (heavy) glass, borosilicate of lead, which he would later use in his experiments linking light and magnetism.

Faraday used "static," batteries, and "animal electricity" to generate the phenomenon of electrostatic attraction, electrolysis, magnetism, and other phenomena in 1832, as part of a series of experiments aimed at determining the fundamental essence of electricity. He came to the conclusion that contrary to popular belief at the time, the distinctions between different "kinds" of electricity were illusory. Instead, Faraday suggested that there is only one "electricity," and that differing quantities and intensities (current and voltage) generate various classes of phenomena.


Faraday discovered in 1845 that certain materials had a mild repulsion to a magnetic field, which he called diamagnetism.

Faraday also discovered that by applying an external magnetic field aligned with the direction in which the light is travelling, the plane of polarization of linearly polarised light can be rotated. The Faraday effect is the name given to this phenomenon. "I have at last succeeded in lighting a magnetic curve or line of force and in magnetising a beam of light," he wrote in his notebook in September 1845.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Who is Michael Faraday’s Inspiration?

Ans: He got a ticket to attend chemical lectures by Humphry Davy while he was an apprentice bookbinder. Faraday was inspired to pursue a career in science as a result of the lectures. He finally became Davy's laboratory assistant, giving him the opportunity to study chemistry under one of the greatest practitioners of the period.

Q2. Who is Known as the Father of Electricity?

Ans. Michael Faraday, the Father of Electricity, was born on September 22, 1791. The English physicist, who is credited with the inventions of electromagnetic induction, electrolysis, and diamagnetism, was born into a poor blacksmith's family.

Q3. Mention the Date When Michael Faraday Died.

Ans. Michael Faraday died on August 25, 1867, at Hampton Court, London, England.

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