Although Michael Faraday received little formal education, he was one of the most influential scientists in history. It was by his research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current that Faraday established the basis for the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics. Faraday also established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena. He similarly discovered the principle of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and the laws of electrolysis. His inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology, and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology. As a chemist, Faraday discovered benzene, investigated the clathrate hydrate of chlorine, invented an early form of the Bunsen burner and the system of oxidation numbers, and popularised terminology such as anode, cathode, electrode, and ion. Faraday ultimately became the first and foremost Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a lifetime position. Physicist Ernest Rutherford stated; "When we consider the magnitude and extent of his discoveries and their influence on the progress of science and of industry, there is no honour too great to pay to the memory of Faraday, one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time".
The museum is housed in the Royal Institute on Albemarle Street. It covers three floors. The theme of the lower ground floor is experimentation. From the odds and ends that became the first electrical transformer to the tube that told us why the sky is blue, view the actual objects Ri scientists built and used in some of the world's most famous experiments. Discover the key role that the Ri has played in the development of the modern world – from the thermos flask to the device that saved the lives of countless miners. The highlight of the exhibition is Faraday's magnetic laboratory displayed as it was (the actual lab., not a reconstruction) in the 1850s opposite a current state-of-the-art nanotechnology lab. The theme of the ground floor is people and meeting the many characters in the story of the Ri. Of course there's our museum's namesake, the bookbinder's apprentice who got a job here through a lucky break and went on to become a scientific hero. But there's also his boss, the arrogant yet charismatic Humphry Davy, and Ada Lovelace, Byron's daughter, mathematician and lightning-rod for scandal. You can also find out about the 14 Nobel Prize winners who have worked at the Ri. This floor includes a stunning display of some of the people that have made the Ri what it is, and a beautiful suspended display of optical instruments above the Cafe. The first floor is devoted to communication with displays showcasing some of the fabulous events that have happened here. You can also find out what a boomerang, a stuffed kangaroo and a saw have in common, and discover the unfortunate side effects of too much laughing gas. Wheelchair access is via Albemarle Street.
Location : Albemarle St, Mayfair, W1S 4BS
Opening Times: Monday to Friday 09:00 to 18:00.
Tickets : Free
Heritage Tours for 10 or more available at £10.00 pp
Tel: 020 7409 2992.