By Tim Lambert

Michael Faraday was one of the great scientists of the 19th century. Faraday was born 22 September 1791 in Newington Butts in Surrey. (The place where he was born is now part of London). He was one of 4 children. Faraday came from a relatively humble background. His father James was a blacksmith. Faraday had only a basic education and in 1804 he became an errand boy for a bookseller. When he was 14 he became an apprentice bookbinder. However Michael Faraday became very interested in science. In 1813 he got a job as a laboratory assistant at the Royal Institution. Then in 1813-1815 Faraday toured France, Switzerland, Italy and Southern Germany with Humphrey Davy. On 12 June 1821 Faraday married Sarah Barnard. The couple did not have children.

The same year, 1821 Faraday discovered electromagnetic rotation. Then in 1831 Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction, the principle behind the electricity generator. Meanwhile in 1825 Faraday was made director of the laboratory at the Royal Institution. Faraday was also an accomplished chemist. In 1825 he isolated benzene. In 1830 Faraday became professor of chemistry at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. (He held the post until 1852). In 1836 he became scientific adviser to Trinity House (the body responsible for lighthouses).

Michael Faraday was also a devout member of the Sandemanian Church (a church founded in Scotland in the 18th century). Michael Faraday died on 25 August 1867. He was 75. Faraday was buried in Highgate Cemetery. Today Faraday is remembered as a great chemist and physicist and one of the pioneers of the use of electricity.

A short biography of Isambard Kingdom Brunel

A short biography of Alexander Graham Bell

A short biography of James Clerk Maxwell

A short biography of Charles Darwin

A History of Science