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Profile of the Day: Michael Faraday

On this day in 1791, English physicist and chemist Michael Faraday was born. Considered one of the greatest scientists in history, Faraday’s work significantly contributed to the understanding of electromagnetism.

Faraday was born on September 22, 1791 in Newington, Surrey, England to James Faraday, a blacksmith, and Margaret Hastwell. While growing up, his father was often ill and incapable of maintaining steady work. As a result, the family struggled to put food on the table. Faraday was only able to receive the most basic education and at 14, he began an apprenticeship with a book binder. He spent his time educating himself by reading a wide range of books about science.

In 1812, Faraday had the opportunity to attend four lectures given by chemist Humphry Davis. The experience led him to seek employment as Davy’s lab assistant at the Royal Institution. The position allowed Faraday to further his scientific education and work with others in the scientific community.

Faraday was an excellent experimenter and inventor. In 1831, he discovered electromagnetic induction, the principal behind the electric transformer and generator. This significant discovery opened up the possibilities of using electricity as a powerful tool in technology.

Explore Michael Faraday’s family tree on Geni and share your connection to the English scientist.

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