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Scientific addresses (1870)
- Knowledge once gained casts a faint light beyond its own immediate boundaries.
- On the Methods and Tendencies of Physical Investigation, p. 7
Faraday as a Discoverer (1868)
- The experimental researches of Faraday are so voluminous, their descriptions are so detailed, and their wealth of illustration is so great, as to render it a heavy labour to master them. The multiplication of proofs, necessary and interesting when the new truths had to be established, are however less needful now when these truths have become household words in science.
- Preface to the Second Edition (December 1869)
- A point highly illustrative of the character of Faraday now comes into view. He gave an account of his discovery of Magneto-electricity in a letter to his friend M. Hachette, of Paris, who communicated the letter to the Academy of Sciences. The letter was translated and published ; and immediately afterwards two distinguished Italian philosophers took up the subject, made numerous experiments, and published their results before the complete memoirs of Faraday had met the public eye. This evidently irritated him. He reprinted the paper of the learned Italians in the Philosophical Magazine accompanied by sharp critical notes from himself. He also wrote a letter dated Dec. 1,1832, to Gay Lussac, who was then one of the editors of the Annales de Chimie in which he analysed the results of the Italian philosophers, pointing out their errors, and' defending himself from what he regarded as imputations on his character. The style of this letter is unexceptionable, for Faraday could not write otherwise than as a gentleman; but the letter shows that had he willed it he could have hit hard. We have heard much of Faraday's gentleness and sweetness and tenderness. It is all true, but it is very incomplete. You cannot resolve a powerful nature into these elements, and Faraday's character would have been less admirable than it was had it not embraced forces and tendencies to which the silky adjectives "gentle" and "tender" would by no means apply. Underneath his sweetness and gentleness was the heat of a volcano. He was a man of excitable and fiery nature; but through high self-discipline he had converted the fire into a central glow and motive power of life, instead of permitting it to waste itself in useless passion. "He that is slow to anger" saith the sage, "is greater than the mighty, and he that ruleth his own spirit than he that taketh a city." Faraday was not slow to anger, but he completely ruled his own spirit, and thus, though he took no cities, he captivated all hearts.
- "Points of Character", p. 37
Fragments of Science, Vol. II (1879)
- Life is a wave, which in no two consecutive moments of its existence is composed of the same particles.
- The mind of man may be compared to a musical instrument with a certain range of notes, beyond which in both directions we have an infinitude of silence.
- Matter and Force
- The brightest flashes in the world of thought are incomplete until they have been proved to have their counterparts in the world of fact.
- Scientific Materialism
- It is as fatal as it is cowardly to blink facts because they are not to our taste.
- Science and Man
- Charles Darwin, the Abraham of scientific men — a searcher as obedient to the command of truth as was the patriarch to the command of God.
- Science and Man
- Superstition may be defined as constructive religion which has grown incongruous with intelligence.
- Science and Man
- Religious feeling is as much a verity as any other part of human consciousness; and against it, on the subjective side, the waves of science beat in vain.
- Professor Virchow and Evolution