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Michael Faraday: “one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time”

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
“One of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time”

Today’s digital revolution owes much to Michael Faraday’s 1821 development of a motor using electromagnetic rotation, which led to electricity becoming practical for use in technology.

Faraday had little formal education, yet became one of the most influential scientists in history. As a chemist, he invented a forerunner of the Bunsen burner, discovered benzene and popularised many scientific terms that are widely used today.

But Faraday’s greatest impact was in the fields of electricity and magnetism, including the discovery of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, electrolysis and the models underpinning the electromechanical devices that powered the industrial revolution.

Faraday was a devout Christian and declined to advise on the development of chemical weapons for use in the Crimean War on ethical grounds.

This is one of a series of stories about the impact of new thinkers, installed on the walls of the Islington head office of Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network.

Kasper de Graaf
Kasper de Graaf
Kasper is a writer and producer with wide experience of innovation in cities, industry and institutions. He has delivered innovation schemes in Vancouver, Istanbul, London, Manchester, Glasgow and numerous other cities. Kasper led the South Bank IQ research study about innovation in South London and co-authored the study ‘Creating a Manchester Design Manifesto’ with Lou Cordwell. He is a director of the design group Images&Co and the arts and culture organisation 2NQ, a steering board Member of the UK Design Action Plan (designactionplan.org) and vice-chair of the Finsbury Park Trust. He has produced Design Manchester’s annual public debate about design and society since 2014 and chaired it since 2018. [Photo: Jake Bernard]

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