Who is Michael Faraday?June 26, 2021
(born September 22, 1791, Newington, Surrey – died August 25, 1867, London) was an English chemistry and physics scholar.
He is one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. He found electromagnetic induction, that the magnetic field rotates the plane of polarization of light. He determined the basic principles of electrolysis. He was the first to liquefy chlorine gas and invented the electric motor.
He showed experimentally that a certain amount of electric current passing through a substance causes a certain amount of dissolution of the components of that substance. This result allows the production of the first electricity meters. Another important contribution of Faraday is that he gave the precise definition of the unit of current called “ampere”. “electrode”, “anode”, “cathode”, “electrolyte”, “ion” etc. We owe the terms to him.
Faraday, one of the four children of a blacksmith and a peasant who came to Newington village from the north of England in the beginning of 1791 to look for a job, could not receive a long-term education due to economic reasons. His parents were members of a cult called the Sandemanians. Faraday is rather a self-taught scientist. He learned literacy and calculus at the church’s Sunday school. He started working as a newspaper distributor at a young age.
He was apprenticed to a bookbinder at the age of fourteen. In this work, which he continued until March 1813, he began to expand his knowledge by reading the books brought to be bound. Thanks to this, he read many books in his youth. He especially read physics books with great enthusiasm and desire. He was particularly impressed by the electricity item in the third edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He began experimenting with a simple electrostatic generator made from old bottles and scrap parts. He also conducted electrochemistry experiments using a weak Volta battery he had made himself.
He had the opportunity to attend chemistry lectures given by the chemist Sir Humphrey Davy at the Royal Institute in London. He bound the notes he took at the conferences and sent them to Davy with a job requesting letter, and in 1813, with Davy’s support, became a chemistry assistant. Between October 1813 and April 1815 he accompanied Davy on his trip to France, Italy and Switzerland. In 1820, he left Davy’s side as assistant. He was appointed laboratory director in 1825. In 1833 he was appointed professor of chemistry without obligation to lecture at the institute. He devoted his whole life to the work of the institute.
In the 1820s, scientists focused on their studies more on electrical issues. The most important of these were Volta’s electric battery and Hans Christian Ørsted’s magnetic magnet power source produced from electric current. Ørsted found in 1820 that an electric current flowing through a wire creates a magnetic field around the wire. The French physicist Andre Marie Ampere also showed that the magnetic force around the wire is circular, in reality a magnetic cylinder is formed around the wire. In this case, an isolated magnetic pole could be obtained, and if placed near a current-carrying wire, the wire would have to make a continuous rotation around its circumference.
Ever since magnetism was produced from electrical energy, the biggest thought of scientists was, “Can electrical energy be obtained from magnetism?” had a question. This has become the biggest issue in the history of science. Faraday has worked on this issue from time to time. Meanwhile, he made his first scientific discovery. He developed a reversible cable system around a magnet, thus converting electrical energy into mechanical energy for the first time. This discovery was considered the basis of electric motors.
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In 1831 he turned again from chemistry to electricity. The most important of his later experiments was to connect a coil of wire to the galvanometer, making an instrument for measuring small electrical currents. When this wire was touched by a magnet, the needle of the galvanometer moved, and when it disconnected the wire, the needle moved in the opposite direction. Thus, Faraday found a way to obtain electrical energy from magnetism. He converted mechanical energy into electricity with the help of a magnet. This became the basis of electric generators.
While Faraday carried out experiments on the magnetic effect and presented the results to the scientific world, doubts arose about the nature of the different forms of electricity. Were the electric fluids from a battery or electromagnetic generator released by an electric eel and other electric fish the same, given off by an electrostatic generator? Or were they different fluids obeying different laws? When Faraday deepened his research, he made two important discoveries.
The electrical force did not separate the chemical molecules by affecting them from afar, as was thought until that day, the dissociation of the molecules occurred when a current passed through a conductive liquid medium. This was true whether the current came from the poles of a battery or, for example, was discharged into the air. Second, the amount of dissociated substance