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Michael Faraday’s Electric Life Was Legendary
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The Optics Are Clear As Glass

Trying to prove light had any connection to electricity and magnetism was a tall order. This would have been hard for anyone, especially the elder Faraday. He would do several experiments to prove this but failed many times. That was until he looked to his shelf, and noticed the brick of glass from his greatest failure years prior. It was the key to proving the connection! He used left and right circularly polarized waves, which were placed at slightly different speeds (known as circular birefringence).

Linear polarization can be decomposed into a superposition of two equal-amplitude, circularly polarized components of opposite handedness and a different phase. When this is done, you’ll get a relative phase shift, induced by Faraday’s discovery. This manages to rotate the orientation of a wave’s linear polarization. Today, we know this entire experiment and concept: The Faraday Effect.

It has since been used for measuring instruments. You can see used to measure optical rotatory power & remote sensing of magnetic fields. Think of Fiber Optic Current Sensors there. The Faraday Effect is also used in Spintronics (or spin electronics). On top of that, Faraday Rotators can also be used for amplitude modulation of light and are how we were given optical isolators and optical circulators. The same stuff used in optical telecommunications and various laser applications.

Michael Faraday’s Electric Life Was Legendary
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Final Word

Near the end of his life, Faraday proposed that electromagnetic forces extend into empty spaces around conductors. Many of his scientific peers rejected this idea, and sadly Faraday did not live to see it through. He passed away in 1867 before finding out.

Faraday’s concept was that lines of flux emanating from charged bodies and magnets somehow provide a way to visualize electronic and magnetic fields. This conceptual model eventually became crucial to the creation of electromechanical devices that now dominate the world of engineering and overall “industry.” They’d remain present from the 19th Century to even today.

While he did not live to see it, Faraday’s concept became accepted by British scientists and eventually the rest of the world. It is compelling that even in death, Michael Faraday had to have the last word. He spent his entire life showing how things once thought impossible was possible. It should not surprise anyone when his concepts become indisputably factual.

Michael Faraday’s Electric Life Was Legendary
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The Titles And Praises Given Or Offered To Michael Faraday

While Faraday accepted the kind gesture from Oxford, he was offered Knighthood by the Royal Family and turned it down. He felt it was wrong to do for religious reasons. He felt it was against the word of the Bible to gather riches and pursue a worldly reward. Michael claimed he did not care to be known as a “Sir.” He stated he was happy being “plain Mr. Faraday to the end.” The Royal Family did get the last laugh and awarded him “grace and favour.” This is a home owned by the monarchy.

In 1832, Faraday was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He’d be elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1838. Then was one of just eight foreign people elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1844. Yet in 1849, Faraday was elected as an associated member to the Royal Institute of the Netherlands. When it later became the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was made a foreign member.

Faraday was elected a member of the Royal Society in 1824 but refused to become President of the Society both times he was nominated. He did accept becoming the first Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at The Royal Institution when offered in 1833, however. Faraday felt that passing on his wisdom, similar to the kindness Davy showed him, would be the best thing he could do for the sciences.

Michael Faraday’s Electric Life Was Legendary
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Michael Faraday Gave Back To Education

What makes Michael Faraday so impressive is that he was clearly a genius. Yet he never really had a formal education. This is why a lot of the time, in his experiments, he struggled to get the math right. Some feel that he would have discovered a lot more had he been given a proper education. Misunderstandings of his abilities and how he learned combined with being a member of a large poor family made things harder.

Faraday would actually be asked about the education system in Great Britain when he became famous. He was, umm…not positive. This forced the nation to reconsider how it taught their youth. In spite of walking into a world of science with a slight handicap compared to his peers, Faraday excelled. He is now known as one of the greatest Physics and Chemists to ever live, with a lot of his discoveries or inventions still used in some form to this day.

The best thing that Faraday started is the Christmas Lectures. He would teach this, even debut some new concepts, every year from 1827 to 1860. They were taught at the Royal Institution each Christmas and were always and remain to this day, a free event for young people to attend. To this day, there is a Christmas Lecture for young people taught here. Yet the concept also made its way to other countries, who also do it.

Michael Faraday’s Electric Life Was Legendary
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Total Faraday Discoveries

Keep in mind that discoveries are not inventions, but sometimes you need to discover something before you can invent something using it. Faraday managed to discover a lot in his life. Due to his work with Humphry Davy, he worked a lot in chemistry. That could be why he managed to discover Benzene. This highly flammable compound is often known by its molecular name today, C6H6.

He also discovered Electromagnetic Induction, which we referenced earlier. On top of this, he discovered Electrolysis. He actually has two laws involved in it that we recommend you check into. Of course, we also referenced how he was able to prove that light, electricity, and magnetism had a connection. Faraday also discovered and coined the term of diamagnetism, a repulsion of the magnetic field.

This is not even referencing all the other things he managed to do without realizing it or living to see it. True impressiveness comes into play when your discoveries can be utilized for many years to come in other places. Faraday’s push for acceptance of electromagnetic material in Physics completely revolutionized it. Think about all that would never have happened without it.

Michael Faraday’s Electric Life Was Legendary
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Total Faraday Inventions

If you thought he discovered a lot of things, he likely invented more than we can possibly cover here. Of course, we referenced his work that resulted in the very first motor as well as the first generator. Yet that was not all. There were some things that he began but never went into full detail about. Likely the most famous is Cryogenetics, which he began in his laboratory in 1823 when he was able to produce sub-freezing temperatures.

He also invented things to protect himself as well as other objects. One is known as the Faraday Cage. It shields things from electromagnetic radiation. In fact, it is capable of hiding something from an x-ray. Some have since used a form of it to pass through airport security. Some even use one to shield their phones from cybercriminals. Faraday had no idea how useful his inventions would one day become.

He was also a pioneer in Electrochemistry, adding words like anode, ion, cathode, and electrode to the scientific vernacular. We still hear about them in science classes across the planet to this day. Faraday was also the first to report what we later referred to metallic nanoparticles. This is why he’s often credited in the birth of nanoscience. Faraday even got involved in what we’d later call environmental science as he investigated pollution at Swansea, then tried to help resolve it.