(September 22, 1791 – August 25, 1867)
Faraday’s journey is unique. Of all the great scientists, he was the least educated. His parents were so poor that they could not sustain his school fees. Thus, he never completed primary school. But he studied at leisure, and his inquisitive mind turned him into a voracious researcher. He later served Humphry Davy as lab assistant, and eventually rose to become the greatest experimenter in the entire history of science. Faraday was discerning, down-to-earth, and extraordinarily imaginative. Armed with raw intellect in lieu of academic degrees, his works amazed the English scientific community: earning him prestige and admiration. He spent more than 50 years conducting thousands of electrical, chemical, and magnetic experiments. His discoveries not only revolutionized physics and chemistry, they ramified and transformed other branches of science. Among other honors, he was made the Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at Royal Institution London. But this extra responsibility did not slow him down. His probes continued. Perhaps, that was why succeeding giants found him indispensable. Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Ernest Rutherford and James Clerk Maxwell all borrowed ideas from him. Indeed, one of the reasons why Thomas Edison refused to share royalties with Tesla was because some of those innovative ideas, which Tesla perfected, originated from Faraday. And throughout their lives, Albert Einstein and Ernest Rutherford remained fascinated by the colossal accomplishments of Michael Faraday. Einstein kept a picture of him (alongside those of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell) for inspiration; whereas Rutherford strove to emulate his researching prowess.