The human mind is placed above, and not beneath it, and it is in such a point of view that the mental education afforded by science is rendered super-eminent in dignity, in practical application and utility; for by enabling the mind to apply the natural power through law, it conveys the gifts of God to man. Notes for a Friday Discourse at the Royal Institution Surely this force must be capable of an experimental relation to electricity, magnetism, and the other forces, so as to bind it up with them in reciprocal action and equivalent effect.
Notebook entry 19 Mar In Bence Jones ed.
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These six lectures were the first series in the tradition of Christmas lectures continued to the present day. I am busy just now again on Electro-Magnetism and think I have got hold of a good thing but can't say; it may be a weed instead of a fish that after all my labour I may at last pull up. Letter to Richard Phillips, 23 Sep In Michael Faraday, Bence Jones ed. I happen to have discovered a direct relation between magnetism and light, also electricity and light, and the field it opens is so large and I think rich. I have been arranging certain experiments in reference to the notion that Gravity itself may be practically and directly related by experiment to the other powers of matter and this morning proceeded to make them.
It was almost with a feeling of awe that I went to work, for if the hope should prove well founded, how great and mighty and sublime in its hitherto unchangeable character is the force I am trying to deal with, and how large may be the new domain of knowledge that may be opened up to the mind of man.
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I have been driven to assume for some time, especially in relation to the gases, a sort of conducting power for magnetism. Mere space is Zero. One substance being made to occupy a given portion of space will cause more lines of force to pass through that space than before, and another substance will cause less to pass. The former need not of necessity assume a polarity of particles such as iron has with magnetic, and the latter do not assume any such polarity either direct or reverse.
Letter to William Whewell, 22 Aug Pearce Williams ed. Letter to Eilhard Mitscherlich, 24 Jan I have long held an opinion, almost amounting to conviction, in common I believe with many other lovers of natural knowledge, that the various forms under which the forces of matter are made manifest have one common origin; or, in other words, are so directly related and mutually dependent, that they are convertible, as it were, one into another, and possess equivalents of power in their action.
Paper read to the Royal Institution 20 Nov In Experimental Researches in Electricity , Vol. Reprinted from Philosophical Transactions , 1. I do not think I could work in company, or think aloud, or explain my thoughts at the time. Letter to C. Ransteed, 16 Dec I have taken your advice, and the names used are anode cathode anions cations and ions ; the last I shall have but little occasion for. I had some hot objections made to them here and found myself very much in the condition of the man with his son and ass who tried to please every body; but when I held up the shield of your authority, it was wonderful to observe how the tone of objection melted away.
Letter to William Whewell, 15 May I hope that in due time the chemists will justify their proceedings by some large generalisations deduced from the infinity of results which they have collected. For me I am left hopelessly behind and I will acknowledge to you that through my bad memory organic chemistry is to me a sealed book. Some of those here, [August] Hoffman for instance, consider all this however as scaffolding, which will disappear when the structure is built.
I hope the structure will be worthy of the labour. I should expect a better and a quicker result from the study of the powers of matter, but then I have a predilection that way and am probably prejudiced in judgment. I purpose, in return for the honour you do us by coming to see what are our proceedings here, to bring before you, in the course of these lectures, the Chemical History of a Candle. There is not a law under which any part of this universe is governed which does not come into play, and is touched upon in these phenomena.
There is no better, there is no more open door by which you can enter the study of natural philosophy, than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle. I require a term to express those bodies which can pass to the electrodes , or, as they are usually called, the poles. Substances are frequently spoken of as being electro-negative , or electro-positive , according as they go under the supposed influence of a direct attraction to the positive or negative pole.
But these terms are much too significant for the use to which I should have to put them; for though the meanings are perhaps right, they are only hypothetical, and may be wrong; and then, through a very imperceptible, but still very dangerous, because continual, influence, they do great injury to science, by contracting and limiting the habitual view of those engaged in pursuing it. I propose to distinguish these bodies by calling those anions which go to the anode of the decomposing body; and those passing to the cathode , cations ; and when I have occasion to speak of these together, I shall call them ions.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London , , , I think chemistry is being frittered away by the hairsplitting of the organic chemists; we have new compounds discovered, which scarcely differ from the known ones and when discovered are valueless—very illustrations perhaps of their refinements in analysis, but very little aiding the progress of true science.
Electrolytes must consist of two parts which during the electrolization , are determined the one in the one direction, and the other towards the poles where they are evolved; these evolved substances I call zetodes , which are therefore the direct constituents of electrolites.
Letter to William Whewell 24 Apr I will simply express my strong belief, that that point of self-education which consists in teaching the mind to resist its desires and inclinations, until they are proved to be right, is the most important of all, not only in things of natural philosophy, but in every department of dally life. Experimental researches in chemistry and physics , If the term education may be understood in so large a sense as to include all that belongs to the improvement of the mind, either by the acquisition of the knowledge of others or by increase of it through its own exertions, we learn by them what is the kind of education science offers to man.
Reprinted in The Mechanics Magazine , 49 , In knowledge that man only is to be condemned and despised who is not in a state of transition. It is the great beauty of our science that advancement in it, whether in a degree great or small, instead of exhausting the subject of research, opens the doors to further and more abundant knowledge, overflowing with beauty and utility. Mackay Magnetic lines of force convey a far better and purer idea than the phrase magnetic current or magnetic flood: it avoids the assumption of a current or of two currents and also of fluids or a fluid, yet conveys a full and useful pictorial idea to the mind.
Diary Entry for 10 Sep In Thomas Martin ed. Men of science, fit to teach, hardly exist. There is no demand for such men. The sciences make up life; they are important to life. The highly educated man fails to understand the simplest things of science, and has no peculiar aptitude for grasping them. I find the grown-up mind coming back to me with the same questions over and over again. As quoted in John L. Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature.
Laboratory notebook 19 Mar , while musing on the possible relation of gravity to electricy. In Michael Faraday and Bence Jones ed. In every one of us there is a living process of combustion going on very similar to that of a candle, and I must try to make that plain to you. Occasionally and frequently the exercise of the judgment ought to end in absolute reservation. It may be very distasteful, and great fatigue, to suspend a conclusion; but as we are not infallible, so we ought to be cautious; we shall eventually find our advantage, for the man who rests in his position is not so far from right as he who, proceeding in a wrong direction, is ever increasing his distance.
Collected in Edward Livingston Youmans ed. The cases of action at a distance are becoming, in a physical point of view, daily more and more important. Sound, light, electricity, magnetism, gravitation, present them as a series. The nature of sound and its dependence on a medium we think we understand, pretty well. The nature of light as dependent on a medium is now very largely accepted. The presence of a medium in the phenomena of electricity and magnetism becomes more and more probable daily. We employ ourselves, and I think rightly, in endeavouring to elucidate the physical exercise of these forces, or their sets of antecedents and consequents, and surely no one can find fault with the labours which eminent men have entered upon in respect of light, or into which they may enter as regards electricity and magnetism.
Then what is there about gravitation that should exclude it from consideration also? Newton did not shut out the physical view, but had evidently thought deeply of it; and if he thought of it, why should not we, in these advanced days, do so too? Letter to E. Jones, 9 Jun The laws of nature, as we understand them, are the foundation of our knowledge in natural things. So much as we know of them has been developed by the successive energies of the highest intellects, exerted through many ages.
After a most rigid and scrutinizing examination upon principle and trial, a definite expression has been given to them; they have become, as it were, our belief or trust.
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From day to day we still examine and test our expressions of them. We have no interest in their retention if erroneous. On the contrary, the greatest discovery a man could make would be to prove that one of these accepted laws was erroneous, and his greatest honour would be the discovery. Advice to a young chemist, recalled in obituary, 'Faraday', in William Crookes ed. The wise man, however, will avoid partial views of things. He will not, with the miser, look to gold and silver as the only blessings of life; nor will he, with the cynic, snarl at mankind for preferring them to copper and iron.
That which is convenient is that which is useful, and that which is useful is that which is valuable. The world little knows how many of the thoughts and theories which have passed through the mind of a scientific investigator, have been crushed in silence and secrecy by his own severe criticism and adverse examination; that in the most successful instances not a tenth of the suggestions, the hopes, the wishes, the preliminary conclusions have been realized.
Experimental Researches in Chemistry and Physics , The diamond glowed brilliantly with a scarlet light, inclining to purple and, when placed in the dark, continued to burn for about four minutes. After cooling the glass heat was again applied to the diamond and it burned again though not for nearly so long as before.
This was repeated twice more and soon after the diamond became all consumed. This phenomenon of actual and vivid combustion, which has never been observed before, was attributed by Sir H Davy to be the free access of air; it became more dull as carbonic acid gas formed and did not last so long. Entry Florence, 27 Mar in his foreign journal kept whilst on a continental tour with Sir Humphry Davy.
I must remain plain Michael Faraday to the last; and let me now tell you, that if accepted the honour which the Royal Society desires to confer upon me, I would not answer for the integrity of my intellect for a single year. On being offered the Presidency of the Royal Society. What incredible scenes every where, what unworthy motives ruled for the moment, under high sounding phrases and at the last what disgusting revolutions. Schrenbein, 15 Dec What a weak, credulous, incredulous, unbelieving, superstitious, bold, frightened, what a ridiculous world ours is, as far as concerns the mind of man.
How full of inconsistencies, contradictions and absurdities it is. Schoenbein 25 Jul In Georg W.
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Kahlbaum and Francis V. Darbishire eds. Cornelia Crosse, wife of the scientist Andrew Crosse. She was with him during a visit by Andrew to see his friend Faraday at the Royal Institution, and she had some conversation with him. Who would not have been laughed at if he had said in that metals could be extracted from their ores by electricity or that portraits could be drawn by chemistry. Why, sir, there is every probability that you will soon be able to tax it!
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Said to William Gladstone, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he asked about the practical worth of electricity. Quoted in R. With respect to Committees as you would perceive I am very jealous of their formation.
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