Lord Rutherford said of Michael Faraday that he was one of the greatest experimenters ever; Albert Einstein believed that Faraday was responsible for the greatest change in the intellectual structure of physics since Newton.
There is little doubt that Faraday bequeathed a greater corpus of useful knowledge than any other physical scientist.
How did it come about that Faraday, a deeply religious man who left school at thirteen to become an errand boy and then an apprentice to a bookbinder (a young man who never attended high school or university and knew no mathematics), could reach such pinnacles?
In terms that are intelligible to non-scientist and interested lay persons, the speaker shall endeavour to answer the above and related questions.
The tale of Faraday's achievements and discoveries is one of the most romantic in the history of science; his character, intellect and commitment speak to us through the ages.
It is particularly important that following the International Year of Chemistry, we ponder on the genius of one of the greatest chemists who ever lived.
The speaker: Sir John once occupied the chair of chemistry created for Michael Faraday at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, of which he was Director (1986-1991).
Formerly he was head of Chemistry at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (1969-1978), Head of the Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Cambridge (1978-1996) and Master of Peterhouse (1993-2002).
He is now Honorary Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, Cambridge University. He was knighted in 1991 for his services to chemistry and the popularisation of science.