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Michael Faraday (1791 – 1867)


English chemist and physicist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.
Michael Faraday
He was little interested mathematics or theory; for example, when his ideas on magnetic fields were extensively developed later by James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), Faraday was little concerned with the results. His own scientific career was characterized by simple ideas and simple experiments.
Faraday quotes
As a philosopher, his first great characteristic was the trust which he put in facts. He said of himself, "In early life I was a very lively imaginative person, who could believe in the Arabian Nights as easily as in the Encyclopedia, but facts were important to me, and saved me. I could trust a fact." Over and over again he showed his love of experiments in his writings and lectures: "Without experiment I am nothing." "But still try, for who knows what is possible?" "All our theories are fixed upon uncertain data, and all of them want alteration and support from facts." "One thing, however, is fortunate, which is, that whatever our opinions, they do not alter nor derange the laws of nature."
His second great characteristic was his imagination. It rose sometimes to divination, or scientific second sight, and led him to anticipate results that he or others afterwards proved to be true.
Faraday
I am no poet, but if you think for yourselves, as I proceed, the facts will form a poem in your minds.




Faraday Michael quotes
I am, I hope, very thankful that in the withdrawal of the powers and things of life, the good hope is left with me, which makes the contemplation of death a comfort not a fear. Such peace is alone the gift of God, and as it is He who gives it, why should we be afraid? His unspeakable gift in His beloved Son is the ground of no doubtful hope, and there is the rest for those who )like you and me) are drawing near the latter end of our terms here below. I do not know, however why I should join you with me in years. I forget your age, but this I know (and feel as well) that next Sabbath day (the 22nd) I shall complete my 70th year. I can hardly think myself so old as I write to you so much of cheerful spirit, ease and general health is left to me, and if my memory fails, why it causes that I forget troubles as well as pleasure and the end is, I am happy and content.
Faraday Michael
There is no more open door by which you can enter into the study of natural philosophy than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle.
Michael Faraday quotes
The lecturer should give the audience full reason to believe that all his powers have been exerted for their pleasure and instruction.
Michael Faraday
If you would cause your view ... to be acknowledged by scientific men; you would do a great service to science. If you would even get them to say yes or no to your conclusions it would help to clear the future progress. I believe some hesitate because they do not like their thoughts disturbed.
Faraday Michael quotes
Faraday is, and must always remain, the father of that enlarged science of electro-magnetism.
Faraday
No wonder that my remembrance fails me, for I shall complete my 70 years next Sunday (the 22); and during these 70 years I have had a happy life; which still remains happy because of hope and content.
Faraday Michael
As when on some secluded branch in forest far and wide sits perched an owl, who, full of self-conceit and self-created wisdom, explains, comments, condemns, ordains and order things not understood, yet full of importance still holds forth to stocks and stones around so sits and scribbles Mike.
Michael Faraday
Among those points of self-education which take up the form of mental discipline, there is one of great importance, and, moreover, difficult to deal with, because it involves an internal conflict, and equally touches our vanity and our ease. It consists in the tendency to deceive ourselves regarding all we wish for, and the necessity of resistance to these desires. It is impossible for any one who has not been constrained, by the course of his occupation and thoughts, to a habit of continual self-correction, to be aware of the amount of error in relation to judgment arising from this tendency. The force of the temptation which urges us to seek for such evidence and appearances as are in favour of our desires, and to disregard those which oppose them, is wonderfully great. In this respect we are all, more or less, active promoters of error. In place of practising wholesome self-abnegation, we ever make the wish the father to the thought: we receive as friendly that which agrees with, we resist with dislike that which opposes us; whereas the very reverse is required by every dictate of common sense.




Michael Faraday quotes
We learn by such results as these, what is the kind of education that science offers to man. It teaches us to be neglectful of nothing, not to despise the small beginnings they precede of necessity all great things. Vesicles make clouds; they are trifles light as air, but then they make drops, and drops make showers, rain makes torrents and rivers, and these can alter the face of a country, and even keep the ocean to its proper fulness and use. It teaches a continual comparison of the small and great, and that under differences almost approaching the infinite, for the small as often contains the great in principle, as the great does the small; and thus the mind becomes comprehensive. It teaches to deduce principles carefully, to hold them firmly, or to suspend the judgment, to discover and obey law, and by it to be bold in applying to the greatest what we know of the smallest. It teaches us first by tutors and books, to learn that which is already known to others, and then by the light and methods which belong to science to learn for ourselves and for others; so making a fruitful return to man in the future for that which we have obtained from the men of the past.
Michael Faraday
The experimental researches of Faraday are so voluminous, their descriptions are so detailed, and their wealth of illustration is so great, as to render it a heavy labour to master them. The multiplication of proofs, necessary and interesting when the new truths had to be established, are however less needful now when these truths have become household words in science.
Faraday quotes
I shall be with Christ, and that is enough.
Faraday Michael
ALL THIS IS A DREAM. Still examine it by a few experiments. Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature; and in such things as these experiment is the best test of such consistency.
Faraday Michael quotes
A point highly illustrative of the character of Faraday now comes into view. He gave an account of his discovery of Magneto-electricity in a letter to his friend M. Hachette, of Paris, who communicated the letter to the Academy of Sciences. The letter was translated and published ; and immediately afterwards two distinguished Italian philosophers took up the subject, made numerous experiments, and published their results before the complete memoirs of Faraday had met the public eye. This evidently irritated him. He reprinted the paper of the learned Italians in the Philosophical Magazine accompanied by sharp critical notes from himself. He also wrote a letter dated Dec. 1,1832, to Gay Lussac, who was then one of the editors of the Annales de Chimie in which he analysed the results of the Italian philosophers, pointing out their errors, and' defending himself from what he regarded as imputations on his character. The style of this letter is unexceptionable, for Faraday could not write otherwise than as a gentleman; but the letter shows that had he willed it he could have hit hard. We have heard much of Faraday's gentleness and sweetness and tenderness. It is all true, but it is very incomplete. You cannot resolve a powerful nature into these elements, and Faraday's character would have been less admirable than it was had it not embraced forces and tendencies to which the silky adjectives "gentle" and "tender" would by no means apply. Underneath his sweetness and gentleness was the heat of a volcano. He was a man of excitable and fiery nature; but through high self-discipline he had converted the fire into a central glow and motive power of life, instead of permitting it to waste itself in useless passion. "He that is slow to anger" saith the sage, "is greater than the mighty, and he that ruleth his own spirit than he that taketh a city." Faraday was not slow to anger, but he completely ruled his own spirit, and thus, though he took no cities, he captivated all hearts.
Michael Faraday
One day sir, you may tax it.
Michael Faraday quotes
I have far more confidence in the one man who works mentally and bodily at a matter than in the six who merely talk about it and I therefore hope and am fully persuaded that you are working. Nature is our kindest friend and best critic in experimental science if we only allow her intimations to fall unbiassed on our minds. Nothing is so good as an experiment which, whilst it sets an error right, gives us (as a reward for our humility in being reproved) an absolute advancement in knowledge.
Michael Faraday
Bacon in his instruction tells us that the scientific student ought not to be as the ant, who gathers merely, nor as the spider who spins from her own bowels, but rather as the bee who both gathers and produces. All this is true of the teaching afforded by any part of physical science. Electricity is often called wonderful, beautiful; but it is so only in common with the other forces of nature. The beauty of electricity or of any other force is not that the power is mysterious, and unexpected, touching every sense at unawares in turn, but that it is under law, and that the taught intellect can even now govern it largely. The human mind is placed above, and not beneath it, and it is in such a point of view that the mental education afforded by science is rendered super-eminent in dignity, in practical application and utility; for by enabling the mind to apply the natural power through law, it conveys the gifts of God to man.
Faraday Michael
Speculations? I have none. I am resting on certainties. I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.


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