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Michael Faraday   1

    An English physicist was lecturing before an audience in London about 130 years ago about some of the tiicks that could be performed with magnets and wires. He had a coil of wire connected to a galvanometer. Since there was no current flowing through the wire, the needle of the instrument was motionless. Then the lecturer lowered a bar magnet into the coil. The needle jerked to the right: an electric current had arisen. He removed the magnet. The needle jerked again, this time to the left.
The story is told that after the lecture a woman from the audience approached the lecturer and asked him: "But, Mr. Faraday, of what use is the electricity produced for just a split second  by that magnet?"
Very politely, Michael Faraday asked in return,. "Madame, of what use is a new-born baby?"
Faraday's experiment was indeed the first step towards the electric generator of today. From this experiment it was but another step to inducing a continuous electric current. In fact, Faraday achieved this eleven days after his first experiment in induction.
A blacksmith's son, Faraday was born near London on September 22, 1791. His family was too poor to keep him in school long. "My education," he wrote later, "consisted of little more than the rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic."
     At the age of 13 he began working as an errand boy  in a bookshop. A year later he became an ap­prentice to a bookbinder. Both these jobs helped him to develop a passionate interest in books. "While an apprentice," he wrote afterwards, "I loved to read the scientific books which were under my hands."
     Faraday was also able to attend some public lectures by the world-famous Sir Humphrey Davy. He attended the lectures with great enthusiasm and took extensive notes. Davy was England's foremost chemist at that time and a very popular lecturer.
    Shortly afterwards Faraday asked Davy to give him work as an assistant, and he submitted his lecture notes as proof of his earnestness. Davy, who liked flattery, employed Faraday first as a secretary and then as a laboratory assistant. Faraday's salary was smaller that the one he had earned as a bookbinder, but he was very pleased to be working in a scientific laboratory.
    Humphrey Davy invented the miner's safety lamp and the carbon arc. He discovered many chemical substances. But it is often said that his greatest dis­covery was Michael Faraday!
     From now on Faraday was able to devote practically all his time to research in science. He did experiments in chemistry, electrochemistry, and metallurgy that alone would have been sufficient to establish his reputation as a scientist. He discovered benzene, produced the first "stainless steel", was the first to liquefy many gases, discovered the laws of electrol­ysis, and the magnetic rotation of the plane of polarized light. But his main interest was in electricity and magnetism . ..
    But even when Faraday had discovered electromagnetic induction, he was not satisfied. He wanted to know why it had occurred. Unable to approach the subject mathematically, he resorted to a physical model: the familiar phenomenon of the way that iron filings on a sheet of paper arrange themselves in lines about a magnet. Why in lines?
     Faraday put forward the idea that the space surrounding the magnet was filled with lines of force.  Nor did he stop there. He filled all space with lines of force. In other words, he suggested that all space was pervaded by various kinds of force: magnetic, radiant, electric, thermal, and gravitational. In other words, these forces fill all of space. This was the beginning of field theory.




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Rambler's Top100 

Rambler's Top100          © 2003 - 200 Елькин В.И.


Albert Einstein 

Alexander Fleming

Igor Kurchatov

Poytr Lebedev

Marie Curie

Michael Faraday

Wilhelm Roentgen


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