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One of the most prolific experimenters in history, a man who had little in the way of formal education, was born on September 22, 1791 in the tiny London borough of Newington Butts. The third of four children born to a poverty-stricken Christian family, Michael Faraday would end up using his basic schooling to become a prolific student in the fields of chemistry and electricity. While still living, he published three books on his hypotheses and theories, ultimately being known for the discovery of the earth’s magnetic field, among many other achievements.
Shortly before Faraday’s birth, his father James — a blacksmith apprentice in search of more opportunity — moved the family to Newington Butts in the hope London would prove a better place to launch a career. Unable to afford the cost of extended education programs, he connected Michael with a bookstore for training as a bookbinder. The younger Faraday, tied to George Riebau for a seven-year period, used the opportunity of being surrounded by volumes of information to educate himself. His interest in science piqued by books like Conversations on Chemistry by Jane Marcet, he began attending lectures at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.
After spending months listening to Humphry Davy, the most highly-regarded English chemist of his day, Faraday compiled a 300-page notebook filled with his observations and sent them to the lecturer. …(Read more)