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The only scientist to appear on the British twenty pound te, Michael Faraday is one of the most recognisable names in the history of science. Faraday's forte was electricity, a revolutionary force in nineteenth-century society. The electric telegraph made mass-communication possible; hopeful inventors during the 1840s looked forward to the day when everything would be done by electricity. By the end of the century, electricity really was in the process of transforming everyday life. What was Faraday's role in all this? How did his science come to have such an impact on the Victorians' (and ultimately on our) lives? Iwan Morus tells the story of his upbringing in scientific London and his apprenticeship at the Royal Institution with the flamboyant chemist, Sir Humphry Davy, against the backdrop of a vibrant scientific culture at the centre of an Empire near the peak of its power.
Iwan Morus lectures in the history of science, technology and medicine at Queen's University Belfast. He has written extensively on nineteenth-century electricity and popular culture and his popular history of nineteenth-century physics is due to be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2004.