The Electric Life of Michael Faraday by Alan Hirshfeld

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Synopsis

Michael Faraday was one of the most gifted and intuitive experimentalists the world has ever seen. Born into poverty in 1791 and trained as a bookbinder, Faraday rose through the ranks of the scientific elite even though, at the time, science was restricted to the wealthy or well-connected. During a career that spanned more than four decades, Faraday laid the groundwork of our technological society-notably, inventing the electric generator and electric motor. He also developed theories about space, force, and light that Einstein called the "greatest alteration . . . in our conception of the structure of reality since the foundation of theoretical physics by Newton."The Electric Life of Michael Faraday dramatizes Faraday's passion for understanding the dynamics of nature. He manned the barricades against superstition and pseudoscience, and pressed for a scientifically literate populace years before science had been deemed worthy of common study. A friend of Charles Dickens and an inspiration to Thomas Edison, the deeply religious Faraday sought no financial gain from his discoveries, content to reveal God's presence through the design of nature. In The Electric Life of Michael Faraday, Alan Hirshfeld presents a portrait of an icon of science, making Faraday's most significant discoveries about electricity and magnetism readily understandable, and presenting his momentous contributions to the modern world.
 

About Alan Hirshfeld

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Alan Hirshfeld is professor of Physics at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and an associate of the Harvard College Observatory. He is author of The Electric Life of Michael Faraday and Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos. His essay on Michael Faraday won second prize in the 2005 John Templeton Foundation Power of Purpose essay competition.
 
Published May 26, 2009 by Walker Books. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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An eager autodidact while still an apprenticed bookbinder, Michael Faraday (1791–1867) earnestly attended lectures at London’s Royal Institution, where he brought himself to the attention of aristocratic chemist Sir Humphrey Davy.

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Publishers Weekly

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Nineteenth-century English scientist Faraday, who made the revolutionary discovery that electricity, magnetism and light are all related, personified the self-made man.

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Deseret News

His name is not a household word, but Michael Faraday's study of magnetic fields helped lead to the technological world of today.

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California Literary Review

Davy and Maxwell, had deep influence – in their own ways – on Faraday’s scientific legacy, though their approaches to the practice of science were antithetical to Faraday’s.

Jun 10 2007 | Read Full Review of The Electric Life of Michael ...

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