[News and Views]


    IT was a remark of Lord Oxford's, that the business of biography is the vivid delineation of a person, and that for its success one of its obvious conditions is that the person delineated should have the power of permanently interesting his fellow-men. Of all men of science, Faraday assuredly was such a person, his rare mental qualities, combined with a singularly refined moral nature, making him as worthy a subject for the biographer as a Pasteur or a Lister. Some of the characteristics of Faraday were admirably brought out by Dr. R. L. Mond, who on June 11 delivered the Second Spiers Memorial Lecture to the Faraday Society. Referring to the approaching celebrations of the centenary “of one of the most fruitful conceptions of the human mind”, Faraday's discovery of electro-magnetic induction, he said many, well qualified, will comment on the origin of this conception, its development and application, but there is one aspect of this triumph of the human mind which deserves special consideration, namely, the study of the conditions and of their influence on the individuality which makes the conception a possibility. This naturally led Dr. Mond to refer to Faraday's early environment. One dominating influence was his association with the Sandemanian form of belief, which combines (like that of the Quakers and Unitarians) a great simplicity of mind with exemplary conduct and love and esteem for your fellow-members. Next came the influence of books; the writings of Bacon, of Dr. Watts, of articles in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and of Mrs. Marcet's book on chemistry. Faraday also found both assistance and inspiration by his association with the ardent spirits of the City Philosophical Society; and then came the turning-point in. his career when he was engaged by Davy, a step which in turn led to his memorable tour on the Continent, “a high school of incomparable value”.

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    [News and Views]. Nature 127, 982–987 (1931). https://doi.org/10.1038/127982a0

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