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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Michael Faraday and chemistry


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was British chemist best known for his contributions to electromagnetism. Physicist John Tyndall said,


"The experimental researches of Faraday are so voluminous, their descriptions are so detailed, and their wealth of illustration is so great, as to render it a heavy labour t master them." (Faraday as a Discoverer, 1868)


Science historian A. D'Abro says,


"Faraday was the first scientist to realise the enormous importance of the electromagnetic field. He saw in it a reality of a new category differing from matter.... Before dying, however, he entrusted this task to his colleague Maxwell; and one of the most astonishing theories of science, eclipsed only in recent years by Einstein's theory of relativity, was the outcome." (The Evolution of Scientific Thought from Newton to Einstein, 1927)


Chemist Aaron J. Ihde said,


"[Faraday's] own scientific career was characterized by simple ideas and simple experiments." (The Development of Modern Chemistry, 1964)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Faraday.




"There is no more open door by which you can enter into the study of natural philosophy than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle." (The Chemical History of a Candle, 1860)


"It is the great beauty of our science, chemistry, that advancement in it, whether in a degree great or small, instead of exhausting the subjects of research, opens the doors to further and more abundant knowledge, overflowing with beauty and utility." (Experimental Researches in Electricity, 1937)


"I was at first almost frightened when I saw such mathematical force made to bear upon the subject, and then wondered to see that the subject stood it so well." (Letter to James Clerk Maxwell, 1857)


Language and thought


"I am no poet, but if you think for yourselves, as I proceed, the facts will form a poem in your minds." (Lecture Notes, 1858)