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Faraday, Michael, 1791-1867
British physicist and chemist. Born on 22 September 1791 in Newington, Surrey. At the age of 14 Faraday began an apprenticeship with a London bookbinder. He devoted his spare time to studying electricity, attending the City Philosophical Society from 1810. In 1813 he became Humphry Davy’s assistant, and accompanied him on his travels in Europe until 1815. Faraday spent most of his working life at the Royal Institution, where he started the famous Christmas Lectures for young people. He became the first and most famous holder of the Fullerian Professorship of Chemistry, which he held for life. During these years he made his most important contributions to the field of electricity, inventing the electric motor, the electric generator and the transformer. His works include the ‘Series of Experimental Researches on Electricity’ published over 40 years in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, in which he describes his many discoveries, including electromagnetic induction (1831) the laws of electrolysis (1833) and the rotation of polarised light by magnetism (1845). Faraday resigned from the Royal Institution in 1862, following a gradual decline in his mental acuity. He is remembered as a scientific genius, honoured by the many inventions, for example the Faraday Cage, which bear his name. He died at Hampton Court, Middlesex, on 25 August 1867.
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Dumbing down science
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