September 22 is the birthdate of English scientist Michael Faraday. The son of a blacksmith, he had little formal education but is considered one of history’s most influential minds, in both chemistry and physics. His research in the 1820s using an iron ring, insulated wire and a direct electric current established the concept of the electromagnetic field. Thereafter, he invented electromagnetic rotary devices that formed the foundation of electric motor technology. Largely because of Faraday, electricity became viable for use in technology. Albert Einstein kept a picture of Faraday on his study wall, alongside those of Isaac Newton and Faraday’s protégé, James Clerk Maxwell. Pictured: Six lectures Faraday wrote for young minds on gravitation, cohesion, chemical affinity, heat, magnetism and electricity (1859).