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The electric life of Michael Faraday
Alan W. Hirshfeld
Adult Nonfiction QC16.F2 H57 2006

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Nineteenth-century English scientist Faraday, who made the revolutionary discovery that electricity, magnetism and light are all related, personified the self-made man. Son of a blacksmith, Faraday (1791-1867) was apprenticed at an early age to a bookbinder, who encouraged him to pursue the interest in science that he'd gained from reading the books that crossed his workbench. By a great stroke of luck, he went to work for the eminent scientist Sir Humphry Davy. As physicist Hirshfeld (Parallax) relates, from that point on, Faraday proved unstoppable as he made important discoveries in every field he applied himself to. His breakthrough came when he discovered that he could induce an electric current by moving a magnet inside a coil of wire. This led to his development of the dynamo, precursor to the electric motor. Equally important, Faraday hypothesized that electromagnetism extended into space via lines of flux. Faraday's background in mathematics was weak, so he couldn't prove this, but a young scientist he befriended late in his career, James Clerk Maxwell, finally did. In an elegantly written biography, Hirshfeld, winner of a Templeton Foundation prize for an essay on Faraday, captures the scientist's rough-and-tumble times, and most readers will be able to follow his clear descriptions of Faraday's achievements. 18 b&w illus. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Today, we would have difficulty associating scientific research with the aristocracy, but in the 18th and 19th centuries nearly all scientific research was the hobby of the curious rich or was supported by wealthy "patrons." To break the barrier of class and education was practically impossible, except that Michael Faraday did. Born in poverty, apprenticed to a tolerant and kindly bookbinder who permitted after-hours experimentation, and mentored by Sir Humphry Davy, Faraday eventually eclipsed his contemporaries and invented the electric motor and the electric generator. Expanding on his essay about Faraday, which won the John Templeton Foundation's Power of Purpose competition, Hirshfeld (physics, Univ. of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; Parallax) paints a fascinating picture of the "scientific" class system in early 19th-century London. Giving dimension to these early experimenters, his book will engage both general readers and the more scientifically minded. Suitable for high school, public, and academic libraries.-Margaret F. Dominy, Drexel Univ. Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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