Inventor of the Electric Motorby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
Michael Faraday was an esteemed Christian scientist and is most well known as the inventor of the electric motor. Faraday came from a poor family and did not have much beyond very basic in-school education. He learned more from reading on his own. He did much experimental work with magnetic fields and how they affected electrical currents and light rays. His Christian beliefs gave him his perspective in science, which led to his discoveries.
Faraday was born on September 22, 1791, in part of Southern London. He was born to the poor family of a blacksmith, James Faraday. Faraday received very little education formally and became the apprentice of a bookbinder at the age of fourteen. It was here as an apprentice that he furthered his education by reading a lot of the books that he bound, although he never learned any math past basic algebra. By 1820 Faraday had completed his apprenticeship and turned to his interest in science. He became Humphrey Davy’s assistant and traveled with him as his valet through Europe for eighteen months. During this tour Faraday learned of many things in the field of science and he built off of the work of others to conduct his own experiments once he and Davy had returned to England.
One of Faraday’s greatest discoveries was how an electric field is produced by a change in a magnet’s field. He also conducted many other experiments that involved magnetic and electrical fields. The first discovery of electromagnetism was by Hans Christian Ørsted in 1820. Ørsted found that when a current is passed through a wire, a magnetic field resulted that would effect the way that a compass points. Humphrey Davy and another scientist had already tried and failed to develop an electric motor using this discovery, so Faraday took his try at it. He made a device that produced what he named electromagnetic rotation; he had two wires rigged so they hung into two glasses of mercury that had magnets in the middle of them. When an electrical current was introduced, the wires would rotate in a circle around the magnets. He further developed this by putting a magnet through a loop of wire. When the magnet was passed through the loop it created an electrical current in the wire. The same happened when he passed the loop over the magnet thus discovering that a disruption in the magnetic field produced an electrical current and creating the first basic electric motor. Later on, Faraday created a generator using these discoveries.
Michael Faraday was born into a Christian family and kept this religion throughout his life. He was a member of the Sandemanian church for all his life and served as an elder twice. It was through the church that he met his wife, Sarah Barnard, whom he married on June 2, 1821. An article by Jim Baggott, published in New Scientist magazine, described quite impeccably, Faraday’s views on religion relating to science: “Faraday found no conflict between his religious beliefs and his activities as a scientist and philosopher. He viewed his discoveries of nature's laws as part of the continual process of `reading the book of nature', no different in principle from the process of reading the Bible to discover God's laws. A strong sense of the unity of God and nature pervaded Faraday's life and work.”  Faraday was a devout Christian from early in his life when his parents raised him with these beliefs, to later in his life even though Christianity generally wasn’t supported in the field of science.
Later in his life Faraday devoted himself more to civil matters. He investigated a mineshaft explosion in 1846 that had killed ninety-five miners and discovered the cause to be coal dust. Although he wrote a detailed report on the incident, the risk of explosion was unheeded until nearly sixty years later when an even more disastrous explosion happened from the same cause. Faraday gave a series of lectures at the Royal Institution entitled The Chemical History of the Candle. This was one of the first annually held Christmas Lectures that are still given today. Faraday gave this lecture nineteen times, the most consecutive times of anyone. On August 25, 1867, Faraday died in his home at the age of seventy-five and was buried in Highgate Cemetery in London.
Although Faraday originated from a common, poor family, his driving urge to learn led him into the field that he loved and made great accomplishments in. The fact that he was a strong Christian had a huge effect on how he developed new ideas and always saw the scientific world as something that we are meant to look at and read it as we would the Bible and learn how it works from this.