Topics Michael Faraday Quotations
Michael Faraday was a British scientist.
- I have far more confidence in the one man who works mentally and bodily at a matter than in the six who merely talk about it — and I therefore hope and am fully persuaded that you are working. Nature is our kindest friend and best critic in experimental science if we only allow her intimations to fall unbiassed on our minds. Nothing is so good as an experiment which, whilst it sets an error right, gives us (as a reward for our humility in being reproved) an absolute advancement in knowledge.
- Letter to John Tyndall (19 April 1851); letter 2411, edited by
- I was at first almost frightened when I saw such mathematical force made to bear upon the subject, and then wondered to see that the subject stood it so well.
- Letter to James Clerk Maxwell (25 March 1857), commenting on Maxwell's paper titled "On Faraday's Lines of Force"; letter published in The Life of James Clerk Maxwell : With Selections from His Correspondence (1884), edited by Lewis Campbell and William Garnett, p. 200; also in Coming of Age in the Milky Way (2003) by Timothy Ferris, p. 186
- ALL THIS IS A DREAM. Still examine it by a few experiments. Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature; and in such things as these experiment is the best test of such consistency.
- Labratory journal entry #10,040 (19 March 1849); published in The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870) Vol. II, edited by Henry Bence Jones, p. 253. This has sometimes been quoted partially as "Nothing is too wonderful to be true."
- But still try, for who knows what is possible...
- If you would cause your view ... to be acknowledged by scientific men; you would do a great service to science. If you would even get them to say yes or no to your conclusions it would help to clear the future progress. I believe some hesitate because they do not like their thoughts disturbed.
- Life and Letters, 2:389.
- Among those points of self-education which take up the form of mental discipline, there is one of great importance, and, moreover, difficult to deal with, because it involves an internal conflict, and equally touches our vanity and our ease. It consists in the tendency to deceive ourselves regarding all we wish for, and the necessity of resistance to these desires. It is impossible for any one who has not been constrained, by the course of his occupation and thoughts, to a habit of continual self-correction, to be aware of the amount of error in relation to judgment arising from this tendency. The force of the temptation which urges us to seek for such evidence and appearances as are in favour of our desires, and to disregard those which oppose them, is wonderfully great. In this respect we are all, more or less, active promoters of error. In place of practising wholesome self-abnegation, we ever make the wish the father to the thought: we receive as friendly that which agrees with, we resist with dislike that which opposes us; whereas the very reverse is required by every dictate of common sense.
- Royal Institution Lecture On Mental Education (6 May 1854), as reprinted in Experimental Researches in Chemistry and Physics, by Michael Faraday, 1859, pp 474-475, emphasis verbatim.
- There is no more open door by which you can enter into the study of natural philosophy than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle.
- The Chemical History of a Candle(1860)
- No wonder that my remembrance fails me, for I shall complete my 70 years next Sunday (the 22); — and during these 70 years I have had a happy life; which still remains happy because of hope and content.
- Letter of Faraday to Christian Friedrich Schönbein (19 September 1861); see also The Letters of Faraday and Schoenbein 1836-1862 (1899), edited by Georg W. A. Kahlbaum and Francis V. Darbishire, p. 349
- One day sir, you may tax it.
- Faraday's reply to William Gladstone, then British Chancellor of the Exchequer (minister of finance), when asked of the practical value of electricity (1850).
- Work. Finish. Publish.
- His well-known advice to the young William Crookes
- The lecturer should give the audience full reason to believe that all his powers have been exerted for their pleasure and instruction.
- The important thing is to know how to take all things quietly.
- Next Sabbath day (the 22nd) I shall complete my 70th year. I can hardly think of myself so old.
- Speculations? I have none. I am resting on certainties. I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
- regarding the hereafter
- I shall be with Christ, and that is enough.
- Last words answering the question "Have you ever pondered by yourself what will be your occupation in the next world?"
Quotes about Faraday
- As a philosopher, his first great characteristic was the trust which he put in facts. He said of himself, "In early life I was a very lively imaginative person, who could believe in the Arabian Nights as easily as in the Encyclopedia, but facts were important to me, and saved me. I could trust a fact." Over and over again he showed his love of experiments in his writings and lectures: "Without experiment I am nothing." "But still try, for who knows what is possible?" "All our theories are fixed upon uncertain data, and all of them want alteration and support from facts." "One thing, however, is fortunate, which is, that whatever our opinions, they do not alter nor derange the laws of nature."
His second great characteristic was his imagination. It rose sometimes to divination, or scientific second sight, and led him to anticipate results that he or others afterwards proved to be true.
- Henry Bence Jones, in The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870) Vol. II, p. 483
- Faraday is, and must always remain, the father of that enlarged science of electro-magnetism.
- James Clerk Maxwell, in Scientific Worthies I. - Faraday, Nature 8 (1873), p. 398
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