Michael Faraday was born in England in 1791. His father, a blacksmith had nine other children to support. Michael had little schooling. He was put to work at an early age but to his good fortune his work involved assisting a bookbinder. The books in the shop probably provided him with more knowledge than he would have acquired in school. He became interested in science especially physics and chemistry. He began to attend public lectures by prominent scientists and performed simple experiments at home.
At the age of 22 he secured a job as assistant to Sir Humphry Davy, the inventor of Davy's safety lamp.
Davy put him to work washing bottles in the laboratory and paid him less than the bookbinder. But Faraday didn't mind. He was now among scientists! When he finished washing bottles he would watch the experiments going on in the laboratory.
Gradually he started doing experiments on his own. He devised methods for liquefying gases such as carbon dioxide and chlorine, and he became the first to produce temperatures in the laboratory that were below the zero mark.
He became interested in electricity and found that moving a magnet through a coil of copper wire caused an electric current to flow in the wire. The electric generator and electric motors work on this principle. Faraday received degrees and awards from many universities and several attractive business proposals came his way but he was not interested. He believed in simple living and high thinking.
During the Crimean War when Britain was at war with Russia the British government asked him if it was possible to prepare poison gas in large quantities for use on the battlefield and, if he would take charge of the project. Faraday replied that it was certainly possible to produce poison gas for use in warfare but that he himself would have nothing to do with it.