Thursday, December 07, 2006

36. Michael Faraday: Man of Simplicity by James Kendall

Faber and Faber, 1955
A biography of Michael Faraday that attempts to strike a balance between his personal and public lives. Much is made of the early influence of Sir Humphry Davy and Faraday's work at the Royal Institution. Interesting to read about his associations with other eminent scientists of his day which include: Ampère, Volta & Schönbein.
Faraday was a Sandemanian and his Christian values shaped his work ethic and social interactions. " This sect was named after Robert Sandeman, son-in-law and successor to John Glas, who was deposed by the Presbyterianan Courts in 1728 because he taught that the Church should be subject to no league or covenant, but be governed only by the doctrines of Christ and His Apostles. The Bible alone contained all that was necessary for salvation. Several tiny congregations were formed in Scotland and in England. Shortly after Faraday's death, [that] the London membership did not exceed twenty families, mostly quite poor." pp 170. "He (Faraday) held the position of elder, however, only for three years and a half. Trouble struck him in a most extraordinary way, as Thompson relates, ' One Sunday he was absent from church. When it was discovered that his absence was due to his having been "commanded' to dine with the Queen at Windsor, and that so far from expressing penitence, he was prepared to defend his action, his office became vacant. He was even cut off from ordinary membership. Nevertheless, he continued for years to attend meetings just as before." pp 172

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