Quite literally hidden in the depths of the Royal Institution of Great Britain lies the Faraday Museum: the namesake of one of Britian’s most famous scientists, Michael Faraday, who worked in the Institution and discovered many important things about electricity. Here you can see objects and artefacts that reveal the story of over 200 years of scientific experimentation and research. Faraday helped develop the Miner’s Safety Lamp, so switch one on and join me on an electrifying adventure into science’s past…
The museum concentrates on Faraday’s experiments and research, his successes such as his research into electro-magnetism as well as his failures in developing a high quality, flawless glass. Some examples of his work with the glass is on display, and seeing how close he came really gives you a sense of the frustration he must have felt.
One of my favourite parts of the Faraday Museum is the small display on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in no small part because I a) enjoy the book and b) feel a lot more comfortable with literature than I do with science.
It transpires that Mary Shelley was aware of the research going on at the Royal Institute at the time, and it seems that Humpry Davey’s work on the link between electricty and life, that miraculous spark, partly inspired that waking nightmare on the shore of Lake Geneva.
I was puzzled why there was a fish there too. Faraday was fascinated with this relationship too, and studied the electrical charge of Torpedo and Gymnatus fishes.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the museum is Faraday’s lab, which has been lovingly restored to its former glory (with added lamp!) after being used for years as storage space. In 1931, 100 years after Faraday conducted his electrical research the historical significance of the space was recognised.