Michael Faraday - Pioneer of Electricity
One of the most influential scientists of all time, Michael Faraday was a British physicist and chemist whose combined expertise led to the development of many of today’s common technologies. He was a great builder of instruments and a daring experimenter. He had no formal education, but that did not stop him from seeing things differently. Through his discoveries, he revolutionized our understanding of Electricity, Magnetism and a whole lot more.
by Manish Reddy
1 year, 7 months ago
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If you are using anything powered by electricity, if you know anything about magnetism, then you owe some respect to Mr. Faraday.  In short time, Faraday invented the electric motor, the electric generator, electrolysis and electroplating. He discovered electro-magnetic induction, he discovered benzene, he figured out the shape of magnetic fields, discovered metallic nano-particles.
Albert Einstein kept a picture of Faraday on his study wall, alongside pictures of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell. Physicist Ernest Rutherford stated; "When we consider the magnitude and extent of his discoveries and their influence on the progress of science and of industry, there is no honour too great to pay to the memory of Faraday, one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time".
Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature - Michael Faraday
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Faraday was born in a poor family and never received any formal education. At the age of thirteen, out of economic necessity he began work, as a delivery-boy for the shop of a bookbinder. There he read the third edition of Encyclopedia Britannica and his fascination for electricity was first stirred by reading an article about it. His first simple experiments at that time, which included a crude electrostatic generator and a weak voltaic pile, were performed as a result of reading it.
A client of the bookbindery gave Faraday a ticket to hear a series of lectures by pioneering chemist Sir Humphrey Davy, one of the stars of British science at the Royal Institution. This brought him into contact with Humphrey and through a great stroke of luck, Faraday managed to get hired on as Humphrey’s assistant. But while working by Davy’s side, he started teaching and delivering lectures. These lectures grew ever increasingly popular, and his Friday evening discourses continue to this day at the institution. After a period of time, Faraday was labeled the most compelling scientific lecturer of his era.
Today, his legacy lives on as one of the best scientists the world has ever seen, despite having never been taught science in his life. Besides, no one could really teach him much science because he discovered most of it. Davy, the world famous chemist who turned down his initial job application, was once asked, "What was your greatest discovery?" He replied, "Michael Faraday."
"Faraday is, and must always remain, the father of that enlarged science of electro-magnetism.* James Clerk Maxwell

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In the course of his research program, Faraday had a large wooden cube built, big enough to hold a person and some scientific apparatus, and had the sides completely covered with a network of conducting wires. He gives the following description of it:
I went into the cube and lived in it, and using lighted candles, electrometers, and all other tests of electrical states, I could not find the least influence upon them, or indication of anything particular given by them, though all the time the outside of the cube was powerfully charged, and large sparks and brushes were darting off from every part of its outer surface. 
The results of his experiments in the cube enabled him show that electricity was in fact a force rather than an imponderable fluid, as was argued by some physicists at that time. We would now call the conducting cube he constructed a Faraday cage.
Here is a video demonstration of Faraday's cage by Department of physics, MIT.
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The famous Tesla coil demonstration uses the Faraday's cage. Probably, you have already seen a Faraday's cage in some show or movie.

The cages are widely used in shows and movies these days. Here is a short video of Tesla coil from the movie Sorcerer's Apprentice. The principle behind the cage was explained by Faraday.

Perhaps the most dramatic application of Faraday cages is lightning safety. If lightning strikes a closed metal aircraft or car, the occupants are safe as long as they are not in electrical contact with the outside metallic surface. The enclosed metallic car or aircraft acts as a Faraday cage and shields the interior from the strong electric field of the lightning strike.

Faraday cages block electromagnetic waves. Buildings or rooms can be deliberately built as Faraday cages either to prevent electromagnetic interference for sensitive electronics or to prevent external spying in high security situations. Buildings or rooms with significant amounts of metal in their construction might not be deliberate Faraday cages. They can however act as such and block cell phone and other wireless communication.

It's a common misunderstanding that passengers of a car are protected from lightening while inside because the car has rubber tires (which are insulators). Well, lightning laughs at two inches of rubber! Most cars are reasonably safe from lightning. But it’s the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, not the rubber tires. Thus convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open shelled outdoor recreational vehicles, and cars with plastic or fiberglass shells offer no lightning protection.

Here is a short video from National Geographic channel explaining how electronics can be protected from an EMP by encasing them in homemade Faraday cages. 

This Jacket’s Faraday Cage Conveniently Silences Your Phone

A Faraday cage is an enclosed conducting shell that shields its interior from strong electric ...
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Here is an excerpt from the popular PBS doucumentary 'Einsteins's Big Idea' showing the contribution of Farady in the making of the world's most famous equation.
An excerpt from the popular PBS doucumentary 'Einsteins's Big Idea' showing the contribution of ...
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Here is a timeline of significant events and discoveries during his life
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Sections
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1. Introduction
2. A Short Biography
3. The Amazing Faraday's Cage
4. Applications of Faraday's Cage
5. Contribution of Faraday to 'Einsteins's Big Idea'
6. A timeline of significant events and discoveries
7. References
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