Of all the results of scientific experimentation, those of Faraday probably contributed most to the recognition of the connection between the different manifestations of energy, which was a necessary preliminary to the discovery of the principle of the conservation of energy.〖See Faraday on “Forces of Matter,” H. C., xxx, 7-85.〗 This is but one of the merits of Michael Faraday, whom many have thought the very greatest of scientific experimenters, and who was certainly one of the noblest and most inspired of men.

The work of Faraday is of a richness and variety that baffles description. He was interested in every department of physical science, and he was a great discoverer wherever his interests rested. His earliest work was chemical, following that of his teacher Davy. Here he discovered new compounds of carbon, for the first time liquefied several gases, studied the diffusion of gases, the alloys of steel, and numerous varieties of glass. Next he turned to electricity, his chief interest thenceforth. With a voltaic pile he decomposed magnesium sulphate. This led later to his fundamental electrochemical law. Choosing purely physical problems, he for the first time produced the continuous rotations of wires and magnets round each other, and in 1831 he discovered induced currents. The greatness of his work in this department has been explained by the most competent of all critics, Clerk Maxwell.

“By the intense application of his mind he had brought the new idea, in less than three months from its first development, to a state of perfect maturity. The magnitude and originality of Faraday’s achievement may be estimated by tracing the subsequent history of his discovery. As might be expected, it was at once made the subject of investigation by the whole scientific world, but some of the most experienced physicists were unable to avoid mistakes in stating, in what they conceived to be more scientific language than Faraday’s, the phenomena before them. Up to the present time, the mathematicians who have rejected Faraday’s method of stating his law as unworthy of the precision of their science have never succeeded in devising any essentially different formula which shall fully express the phenomena without introducing hypotheses about the mutual action of things which have no physical existence, such as elements of currents which flow out of nothing, then along a wire, and finally sink into nothing again.

“After nearly half a century of labor of this kind, we may say that, though the practical applications of Faraday’s discovery have increased and are increasing in number and value every year, no exception to the statement of these laws as given by Faraday has been discovered, no new law has been added to them, and Faraday’s original statement remains to this day the only one which asserts no more than can be verified by experiment, and the only one by which the theory of phenomena can be expressed in a manner which is exactly and numerically accurate, and at the same time within the range of elementary methods of exposition.”〖“Encyclopædia Britannica,” 9th ed., ix, 30.〗

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