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Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Faraday, Michael

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FARADAY, MICHAEL, an English scientist; born in Newington Butts, England, Sept. 22, 1791. He received little or no education and was apprenticed to the trade of a bookbinder. During his term of apprenticeship, a few scientific works fell into his hands, and he devoted himself to the study of, and experiments in, electricity. Having attended the lectures given in 1812 by Sir Humphry Davy, and taken notes thereon, he sent them to that great philosopher, and besought some scientific occupation. The reply was prompt and favorable. In 1813 Faraday was appointed chemical assistant, under Sir Humphry, at the Royal Institution. After a continental tour in company with his patron, Faraday, still pursuing his scientific investigations, discovered, in 1820, the chlorides of carbon, and, in the following year, the mutual rotation of a magnetic pole and an electric current. These discoveries led to the condensation of gases in 1823. In 1829 he labored on the production of optical glass; but though unsuccessful in his immediate object, his experiments produced the heavy glass which afterward proved of great assistance to him in his magnetical investigations. In 1831 the series of "Experimental Researches in Electricity," published in the "Philosophical Transactions," began with the development of the induction of electric currents, and the evolution of electricity from magnetism. Three years later Faraday established the principle of definite electrolytic action, and in 1846 received at the same time the Royal and the Rumford medals for his discoveries of dia-magnetism, and of the influence of magnetism upon light respectively. In 1847 he discovered the magnetic character of oxygen, and, also, the magnetic relations of flame and gases. His papers, including other contributions to the store of modern science, are too numerous to mention in detail. In 1833 Faraday was appointed Professor of Chemistry in the Royal Institution, London, which chair he continued to hold until his death. In 1835 he received from government a pension of $1,500 per annum in recognition of his eminent scientific merits. In 1836 he was appointed a member of the senate of London University. From 1829 to 1842 he was chemical lecturer at the Royal Academy. In 1823 Faraday was elected corresponding member of the French Academy, in 1825 he was chosen a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1832 made a D. C. L. of Oxford University. He was, besides, a knight of several of the European orders, and a member of the chief learned and scientific societies in Europe and the United States. He died in Hampton Court, Aug. 25, 1867.