Was Galileo Galilei Albert Einstein's favorite scientist

Science anniversaries

On December 28, 1824, a bookbinder noted in his diary:
In making an experiment the beginning of last week, to ascertain the position of the magnetic needle to the connecting wire of a voltaic apparatus, i was led into a series which appear to me to give some new views of electro-magnetic action, and of magnetism altogether; and to render more distinct and clear those already taken.
The experiments carried out sporadically up to April 1826, however, did not lead to the desired result. After a five-year break, the bookbinder resumed the experiments which, after only 11 days, in December 1830, led to success;

The discovery of electromagnetic induction


This extraordinary discovery was made by an extraordinary man with an extraordinary story - Michael Faraday.



Michael Faraday was born on September 22nd, 1791 in Newington in the southern English county of Surrey into a working class family. His father, James Faraday, was a trained farrier and his mother came from a farming family. He spent the first years of his life with his parents and two older siblings in a small town in Cumbria in the north of the country. When James Faraday lost his job and ran into financial difficulties, the family moved to London. There he attended a day school until 1804, where he acquired basic skills in writing, reading and arithmetic. The thirteen-year-old then worked for a year as an errand boy for the bookseller George Riebau. He finally offered him an apprenticeship and trained Michael Faraday to be a bookbinder. The boy moved into the household of his teacher and turned out to be a talented and hardworking student. During his apprenticeship years, Faraday had access to a wide variety of literature in his master’s bookstore and enthusiastically read books and writings on various subjects such as chemistry and physics, art and history. In addition to some scientific treatises, it was above all the book "The Improvement of the Mind" by the English poet Isaac Watts that made a great impression on the young Faraday. The work instructed people to constantly expand their general knowledge in self-study, to attend lectures and to note down interesting facts, to read specialist articles and to exchange ideas with like-minded people.

Inspired by this book, Faraday began to jot down important information from magazines and books. He called this collection of notes "The Philosophical Miscellany". At the same time he began to conduct his own chemical experiments and constructed his first electrifying machine. Riebau recognized the extraordinary intelligence and talent of his student and encouraged him to attend the lectures once a week in the house of the silversmith John Tatum (scientist and philosopher), who had founded the City Philosophical Society in 1808. With this association, Tatum had made it his goal to give people from the working class access to information on a scientific level. Faraday joined the City Philosophical Society in 1810 and gave his first lecture here a little later. During his visits to Tatum's house, Michael Faraday got to know some Quakers (members of the "Religious Society of Friends") with whom he maintained a lively exchange of ideas in the years that followed. At the end of his apprenticeship he was already aware that he would not pursue a career as a bookbinder, but rather work scientifically. However, since his application to the Royal Society for a job as a laboratory assistant was ignored, he was forced to work as a bookbinder journeyman in a London company in 1812.

Through Riebau, William Dance, a regular customer of the bookstore, was given access to Faraday's collection of notes and thereupon offered him tickets for the lectures of the well-known chemist Humphry Davy at the Royal Institution. Faraday approached Davy in the course of the lectures and asked him for a job, which he did not get until the following year. On March 1, 1813, Michael Faraday began his work as Davy's chemical assistant at the Royal Society. Between October of the same year and April 1815, he accompanied Davy on a scientific journey that first took the two men to Italy, where they met with Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the battery. In the course of this trip, Faraday also met some of the leading chemists and physicists of his time in Switzerland and Germany.
After his return he was given a permanent position at the Royal Institution and from that point on was responsible for the mineralogical collection and the maintenance of the experimental equipment in the laboratories. His position allowed him to use the laboratory facilities for his own purposes, which is why he devoted himself to extensive experiments in his spare time. During this time, Faraday proved to be an extremely knowledgeable employee who received various commissioned work and dealt full-time with optical glasses, the construction of lighthouses, mining and the production of steel. He prepared reports for companies and military purposes, discovered the liquid benzene in the course of his work and experiments and developed some inventions, which he did not patent out of conviction (to the advantage of Werner von Siemens, who took the opportunity and patented the dynamo machine built an industrial empire). In 1821, after he was financially secure through his professional position at the Royal Institution (he was appointed "Superintendent of the House" and was able to move into an official residence at the Royal Institution), Faraday married Sarah Barnard, with whom he had a happy, but childless marriage linked. In the same year he published the results that he had worked out during his experiments with electromagnetic rotation. He used the next few years to scientifically analyze and prove the electrical effect of magnets. Thanks to his tireless efforts, he was made a member of the Royal Society in 1824 and succeeded Davy as director of the laboratories the following year. On December 18th, 1830, Faraday finally succeeded in demonstrating electromagnetic induction using electrical lines of force without any mathematical specialist knowledge (archive version from April 3rd, 2018).

One could write so much about this extraordinary scientist and his, for chemistry and physics, groundbreaking discoveries, but I think the wall of text is already outrageously long. Faraday was an extremely good and very precise observer, and a very excellent experimenter at that. In my opinion, that just had to be mentioned in Peter’s thread, which is so nicely done here. I'm absolutely sure that Peter would have performed it sooner or later anyway, but December 28th just seemed too appropriate to wait any longer for one of my favorite scientists.

P.S .: December 1860 he used his notes from the lecture given in 1848/49 with the title "Chemical History of a Candle". At the instigation of William Crookes, Faraday's Christmas Lecture was co-written and appeared as a six-part series of articles in Crookes Chemical News. The book version, published a short time later, is considered one of the most successful popular science books and has been translated into numerous languages, including German. So if you are bored between the days, you can learn a lot from his lectures:

Natural history of a candle