The Electric Life of Michael Faraday

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, May 26, 2009 - Science - 272 pages
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.
 

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User Review  - themulhern - LibraryThing

The biographical note tells me that this author won an award from the Templeton foundation for an essay on the life of Michael Faraday in a "Power of Purpose" essay competition. This makes him ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

An excellent biography of Michael Faraday and his scientific experiments. From his days as a bookbinder's apprentice to one of the preeminent scientists in England, Faraday's life story is well told here by Hirshfeld. Read full review

Contents

Improvement of the Mind Chapter 2 Perceptions Perfectly Novel
23
The University of Experience
43
Fear and Confidence
57
Rising to the Light
73
He Smells the Truth
93
A Twitch of the Needle
111
Toil and Pleasure
125
A Cage of His Own
138
A Partaker of Infinity
174
The Light Unseen
184
The Simplest Earthly Place
194
Epilogue
211
Notes
215
Bibliography
235
Acknowledgments
243
Art Credits
245

An Excellent Days Work
150
Nothing Is Too Wonderful to Be True
161

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About the author (2009)

Alan Hirshfeld is professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and an associate of the Harvard College Observatory. He is the author of the widely praised book Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos and won a major prize for his essay on Michael Faraday in the John Templeton Foundation's Power of Purpose essay competition.

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