Vol. 2 No. 1 (2018)
Historical Articles

Michael Faraday: a virtuous life dedicated to science

Franco Bagnoli
Department of Physics and Astronomy and CSDC, University of Florence
Bio
Roberto Livi
Department of Physics and Astronomy and CSDC, University of Florence
Bio
Published March 26, 2018
Keywords
  • Faraday,
  • history of science,
  • biography
How to Cite
Bagnoli, F., & Livi, R. (2018). Michael Faraday: a virtuous life dedicated to science. Substantia, 2(1), 121-134. https://doi.org/10.13128/Substantia-45

Abstract

We review the main aspects of the life of Michael Faraday and some of his main scientific discoveries. Although these aspects are well known and covered in many extensive treatises, we try to illustrate in a concise way the two main “wonders” of Faraday’s life: that the son of a poor blacksmith in the Victorian age was able to become the director the Royal Institution and member of the Royal Society, still keeping a honest and “virtuous” moral conduct, and that Faraday’s approach to many topics, but mainly to electrochemistry and electrodynamics, has paved the way to the modern (atomistic and field-based) view of physics, only relying on experiments and intuition. We included many excerpts from Faraday’s letters and laboratory notes in order to let the readers have a direct contact with this scientist.