Faraday’s letters

Serendipity is a curious thing.

Great-many-times-Uncle Michael Faraday wrote a lot of letters. (Just think how many more emails that would have been, had he had access to computers and the internet. Emails are so quick to write and send.)

Anyway, Professor Frank James has been working on editing Faraday’s letters for twenty years or more, and the sixth and final volume of The Correspondence of Michael Faraday is finally being published by the IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology).

The Correspondence of Michael Faraday, volume 6

That’s 800 pages of letters, and I daren’t even think how many letters the whole six volumes comprise. It’s hardly the sort of thing one would sit down and read straight through, but it would be fascinating to be able to dip into.

Later this week on 14th June, “Prof James and philosopher Mark Vernon will give a talk, ‘Victorian and contemporary scientists’ which will explore Faraday, the great scientist and the devoted Christian, and if these two notions – science and religion – are necessarily at loggerheads.”

The serendipity I mentioned was that someone would just happen to send the press release about this talk to Daughter. Most teenagers would ignore that sort of thing, but thankfully the name Faraday means something to her, even though she doesn’t get on quite as well with her Great Uncle’s particular kind of Physics as he did.

But I trust we’ll get there.

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4 responses to “Faraday’s letters

  1. I love reading other people’s letters (what does that say about me!) especially over a lifetime. I have a whole bookshelf full of them. Faraday’s are new to me but next time I’m in the University library I’m certainly going to have a look and see if they have the first volume. I don’t think I have a scientist in my collection.

  2. There is no better scientist to have than Faraday. It might be that this collection is too specialist for many libraries, but do ask. That’s what makes the people who decide decide.

  3. I also like reading letters, but I’ve read too many for work/research now (including unpublished archival sources) and the interesting and engaging bits have been overshadowed by the distasteful revelations one too many times. Admittedly, this may also be a product of the sort of people who’ve letters I’ve been reading – far too many long-dead and very grumpy artistic German types – than the genre. I’ll have to try a scientist or two.

    (Am impressed that Faaday is a distant connection of yorus! My family is devoid of well, or even known names. Except for the great great uncle who proposed to Vivian Leigh in his dotage, but she didn’t accept.)

  4. Don’t be too impressed. I only married the Faraday genes. I’m not scientifically inclined, at all.
    And it’s easy to become disappointed in people when you find out too much about them. Letters and biographies can be well worth avoiding in some cases, except you won’t know until it’s too late. Although I expect Faraday to be sqeaky clean.

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