Pattern of lines of magnetic force prepared by Faraday, 1852.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This 'delineation of lines of magnetic force by iron filings' was produced by sprinkling iron filings over a pair of magnets and chemically fixing the pattern produced to the paper. Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was an English natural philosopher and one of the greatest of all experimental physicists. Faraday's great life work was the series 'Experimental Researches on Electricity' published over 40 years in 'Philosophical Transactions', in which he described his many discoveries, including electromagnetic induction (1831), the laws of electrolysis (1833) and the rotation of polarised light by magnetism (1845).