Michael Faraday is a British physicist and chemist, best known for his discoveries of electromagnetic induction and of the laws of electrolysis. He was born in 1791 to a poor family in London, Michael Faraday was extremely curious, questioning everything. He felt an urgent need to know more. At age 13, he became an errand boy for a bookbinding shop in London. He read every book that he bound, and decided that one day he would write a book of his own. He became interested in the concept of energy, specifically force.
Because of his early reading and experiments with the idea of force, he was able to make important discoveries in electricity later in life. He eventually became a chemist and physicist. Faraday built two devices to produce what he called electromagnetic rotation: that is a continuous circular motion from the circular magnetic force around a wire. Ten years later, in 1831, he began his great series of experiments in which he discovered electromagnetic induction. These experiments form the basis of modern electromagnetic technology. In 1831, using his 'induction ring', Faraday made one of his greatest discoveries - electromagnetic induction: the 'induction' or generation of electricity in a wire by means of the electromagnetic effect of a current in another wire.
The induction ring was the first electric transformer. In a second series of experiments in September he discovered magneto-electric induction: the production of a steady electric current. To do this, Faraday attached two wires through a sliding contact to a copper disc. By rotating the disc between the poles of a horseshoe magnet he obtained a continuous direct current. This was the first generator. From his experiments came devices that led to the modern electric motor, generator and transformer.
Faraday continued his electrical experiments. In 1832, he proved that the electricity induced from a magnet, voltaic electricity produced by a battery, and static electricity was all the same. He also did significant work in electrochemistry, stating the First and Second Laws of Electrolysis. This laid the basis for electrochemistry, another great modern industry.
The research that established Faraday as the foremost experimental scientist of his day was, however, in the fields of electricity and magnetism. In 1821 he plotted the magnetic field around a conductor carrying an electric current; the existence of the magnetic field had first been observed by the Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted in 1819. In 1831 Faraday followed this accomplishment with the discovery of electromagnetic induction and in the same year demonstrated the induction of one electric current by another. During this same period of research he investigated the phenomena of electrolysis and discovered two fundamental laws: that the amount of chemical action produced by an electrical current in an electrolyte is proportional to the amount of electricity passing through the electrolyte; and that the amount of a substance deposited from an electrolyte by the action of a current is proportional to the chemical equivalent weight of the substance. Faraday also established the principle that different dielectric substances have different specific inductive capacities.
In experimenting with magnetism, Faraday made two discoveries of great importance; one was the existence of diamagnetism, and the other was the fact that a magnetic field has the power to rotate the plane of polarized light passing through certain types of glass.