# Michael Faraday

Physics - Famous Scientists - Michael Faraday

Wave Structure of Matter Explains Faraday's Electric & Magnetic Forces

I cannot conceive curved lines of **force** without the conditions of a **physical existence** in that intermediate **space**. (**Michael Faraday**)

When a mathematician engaged in investigating
physical actions and results has arrived at his own conclusions, may they
not be expressed in common language as fully, clearly, and definitely as
in mathematical formulae? If so, would it not be a great boon to such as
well to express them so --- translating them out of their hieroglyphics
that we might also work upon them by experiment?

( **Michael Faraday**, to James Clerk Maxwell in 1857)

The greatest change in the axiomatic basis
of physics - in other words, of our conception of the structure of reality
- since Newton laid the foundation of theoretical physics was brought about
by **Faraday's** and **Maxwell's **work on**
electromagnetic field phenomena.****
Faraday** must have grasped with unerring instinct the artificial nature of all attempts to refer electromagnetic phenomena to actions-at-a-distance between electric particles reacting on each other. How was each single iron filing among a lot scattered on a piece of paper to know of the single electric particles running round in a nearby conductor? All these electric particles together seemed to create in the surrounding space a condition which in turn produced a certain order in the filings. These spatial states, today called fields, would, he was convinced, furnish the clue to the mysterious electromagnetic interactions. He conceived these fields as states of mechanical stress in an elastically distended body (ether). (

**Albert Einstein**, 1954)

Faraday came from no learned academy; his
mind was not burdened with traditional ideas and theories.

(**Max Born**, Einstein's Theory of Relativity)

### Introduction

While **Michael Faraday **was a wonderful Scientist, history will show that his conception of the electric and magnetic force fields (in 1831) led modern physics down a path that would ultimately lead to a dead end of paradox and confusion.

The error arose because of the prior conception of matter existing as discrete particles, thus causing the problem of how discrete matter 'particles' acted at-a-distance on other 'particles' in Space. To solve this Faraday developed the mathematical concept of the '**electric and magnetic force field**' as a way of mathematically describing **action-at-a-distance** for charged particles (i.e. electrons and protons). This is a continuous mathematical 'plot' of the effects (forces and thus accelerated motions) that particles have on other particles in the Space around them, thus it is a description of **effects** (inductive / *a posteriori*) rather than **cause** (deductive / *a priori*). And as Metaphysics makes clear the ultimate Principles of Physics must be *a priori*, not *a posteriori* (i.e. founded on the real world of Causes, not the naive real world of Effects that we observe).

Thus there was never an explanation of how the 'particles' generated these
'forces', and how the 'forces' acted on other 'particles', and given consideration
you begin to realise that Faraday's Electric and Magnetic Forces were only
ever mathematical constructions, and ultimately they must have a cause.
To Faraday's credit, at least he realised that the Space between the particles
must exist to carry this force, something that modern physicists seem to
conveniently ignore (while their mathematics does not require the necessary
connection of Space, it is obvious that reality does.)

Only now, with the knowledge of the Spherical Standing Wave Structure of Matter in Space, can we finally understand what causes these 'particles and 'forces'. And this now takes us to the central purpose of this website, to explain what matter really is, and thus how it causes these electric and magnetic fields.

### On the Evolution of Michael Faraday's Conception of Electric and Magnetic Forces

The Particle / Force Duality of Faraday's Electromagnetic Forces (1832)

The greatest change in the axiomatic basis of physics - in other words, of our conception of the structure of reality - since Newton laid the foundation of theoretical physics was brought about by Faraday's and Maxwell's work on electromagnetic field phenomena. (Albert Einstein, 1931)

Faraday (1832) developed the mathematical concept of the 'electro-magnetic force field' as a way of mathematically describing action-at-a-distance for charged particles (i.e. electrons and protons). This is a continuous mathematical 'plotting' of the effects (forces and thus accelerated motions) that matter has on other matter in the Space around it, thus it is a description of effects rather than causes (Inductive / *a posteriori* rather than deductive / *a priori*. And this becomes important when you read Hume and Kant, for they explain that the ultimate Principles of Physics must be *a priori*, not *a posteriori*!).

This field concept replaced Newton's instant action-at-a-distance between discrete particles. Importantly, the electromagnetic (e-m) field is a **vector** (directional) quantity that defines** force** and **direction** of acceleration of many charged particles upon one another. It is continuous in the sense that the distance and force between particles can vary by infinitely small amounts.

For example, electrons near one another in Space experience a mutual force of repulsion and this behaviour can be mathematically described using Faraday's e-m field which quantifies this force and describes how it varies with distance and direction. As Albert Einstein explains;

Faraday must have grasped with unerring instinct the artificial
nature of all attempts to refer electromagnetic phenomena to actions-at-a-distance
between electric particles reacting on each other. How was each single iron
filing among a lot scattered on a piece of paper to know of the single electric
particles running round in a nearby conductor? All these electric particles
together seemed to create in the surrounding space a condition which in
turn produced a certain order in the filings.

These spatial states, today called fields, would, he was convinced, furnish the clue to the mysterious electromagnetic interactions. He conceived these fields as states of mechanical stress in an elastically distended body (ether/space). For at that time this was the only way one could conceive of states that were apparently continuously distributed in space. The peculiar type of mechanical interpretation of these fields remained in the background - a sort of placation of the scientific conscience in view of the mechanical (Newtonian) tradition of Faraday's time. (Albert Einstein, 1940)

It seems that the 'electromagnetic force field' is a poorly understood concept which causes considerable confusion. It is quite basic though, as it is nothing more than a mathematical description of how matter changes the motion of other matter in the Space around it. This mathematical 'force field' is a very powerful tool for mathematical physicists (as is the particle) and as a consequence many physicists (including Faraday, Maxwell, and Lorentz) imagined this 'field' to be real and therefore assumed that an 'Aether' (made up of many smaller particles!) must exist in Space as the medium for this 'field'. Born describes the ether as follows;

The undulatory, or wave theory, on the other hand, sets up an analogy between the propagation of light and the motion of waves on the surface of water or sound waves in air. For this purpose it has to assume the existence of an elastic medium that permeates all transparent bodies; this is the luminiferous ether. The individual particles of this substance merely oscillate about their positions of equilibrium. That which moves on as the light wave is the state of motion of the particles and not the particles themselves. (Born, 1924)

In fact there is no 'ether' simply because there are no 'force fields'. Both are mathematical constructions to try to explain how matter 'particles' interacted with other 'particles' in the space around them (Newton's action-at-a-distance). Once we understand the Spherical Wave Structure of Matter in Space though, then we no longer need these mathematical ideas, instead we realise that Space itself is a continuous wave medium (which necessarily connects all things) and there are no such things as discrete particles.

### On Maxwell's Equations and the Finite Velocity of Light Waves (1876)

When Maxwell (1876) used this field theory to assume that light was an
Electromagnetic Wave, and then correctly deduced the finite velocity of
light, it was a powerful logical argument for the existence of the electromagnetic
force field, and that light was a wave like change in the field (electromagnetic
radiation) that propagated with the velocity of light c through the ether.

In fact Maxwell was simply confirming that all Wave-Center to Wave-Center
(particle) interactions are not instantaneous as Newton assumed, but are
limited by the velocity of the In-Waves which is the Velocity of Light c.

So while Maxwell misunderstood the true nature of the waves (which are physical waves in Space rather than mathematical vector e-m waves), he is largely correct. This new knowledge was significant as it established the importance of the finite velocity of light c and further enhanced the field theory, thus rejecting Newton's theory of particles and instant action-at-a-distance.

The precise formulation of the time space laws of those fields
was the work of Maxwell (1870s). Imagine his feelings when the differential
equations he had formulated proved to him that the electromagnetic fields
spread in the form of polarized waves and with the speed of light! To few
men in the world has such an experience been vouchsafed.

Only after Hertz (1888) had demonstrated experimentally the existence of
Maxwell's electromagnetic waves did resistance to the new theory break down.
And what was true for electrical action could not be denied for gravitation.
Everywhere Newton's (instant) actions-at-a-distance gave way to fields spreading
with finite velocity.

At that thrilling moment he surely never guessed **that the riddling nature of light**, apparently so completely solved, would continue to baffle succeeding generations. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

And this is true. Because they were using a mathematical construction of
a continuous e-m wave, rather than the true Spherical Standing Wave, they
were in for a rather disturbing discovery not long thereafter. For standing
wave interactions only occur at discrete frequencies, like notes on the
string of a guitar, thus while the true Spherical Standing Wave Structure
of Matter predicts that wave interactions will be discrete, the continuous
e-m wave does not anticipate this.

Thus when Max Planck (1900) discovered that there are only certain allowed discrete energy states for electrons in molecules and atoms, and that light is only ever emitted and absorbed by electrons in discrete amounts or 'quanta', contrary to Maxwell's formulation that light is a continuous electromagnetic wave, then this caused a fundamental problem for the field theory that was never resolved. It is only now, with knowledge of the true foundations of physics and reality, that we can understand, and thus anticipate and correct, the errors of contemporary modern physics. (This is explained in more detail in the later section of Quantum Theory)

### On Lorentz's Theory of the Electron (1900)

Hendrik Lorentz in The Theory of the Electron describes the electron as a spherical spatially extended electromagnetic field about a charged particle (electron) in the ether. Thus inadvertently he continued this error of assuming the 'field' to be real, and described the electron as a charged particle that somehow 'generated' a spherical spatially extended 'field' in the ether around it. This was profound simply because Albert Einstein used Lorentz's foundations to develop his 'field' theory of matter which founds his theory of Relativity. As Albert Einstein explains;

At the turn of the century the theoretical physicists of
all nations considered H.A. Lorentz as the leading mind among them, and
rightly so. The physicists of our time are mostly not fully aware of the
decisive part which H.A. Lorentz played in shaping the fundamental ideas
in theoretical physics. The reason for this strange fact is that Lorentz's
basic ideas have become so much a part of them that they are hardly able
to realize quite how daring these ideas have been and to what extent they
have simplified the foundations of physics.

Then came H.A. Lorentz's decisive simplification of the theory. He based
his investigations with unfaltering consistency upon the following hypotheses:

The seat of the electromagnetic field is the empty space. In it there are
only one electric and one magnetic field vector. This field is generated
by atomistic electric charges upon which the field in turn exerts ponderomotive
forces. The only connection between the electromagnetic field and ponderable
matter arises from the fact that elementary electric charges are rigidly
attached to atomistic particles of matter. For the latter Newton's law of
motion holds.

Upon this simplified foundation Lorentz based a complete theory of all electromagnetic phenomena known at the time, including those of the electrodynamics of moving bodies. It is a work of such consistency, lucidity, and beauty as has only rarely been attained in an empirical science. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

Lorentz imagined that the ether exists throughout Space and that matter/fields existed as a state of this ether.

Indeed one of the most important of our fundamental assumptions
must be that the ether not only occupies all space between molecules, atoms,
or electrons, but that it pervades all these particles. We shall add the
hypothesis that, though the particles may move, the ether always remains
at rest.

I cannot but regard the ether, which can be the seat of an electromagnetic field with its energy and its vibrations, as endowed with a certain degree of substantiality, however different it may be from all ordinary matter. (Lorentz, The Theory of the Electron, 1906)

In fact Lorentz was very close to the truth, if he had just discarded
the old notions of 'particles' and 'fields' then his concept of vibrations/motions
of the ether, and the equivalence of the ether with Space would have been
correct and would then have led to the correct conception of matter as the
spherical wave motion of Space.

As Max Born writes;

Lorentz proclaimed the very radical thesis which had never before been asserted with such definiteness: The ether is at rest in absolute space. In principle this identifies the ether with absolute space. Absolute space is no vacuum, but something with definite properties whose state is described with the help of two directed quantities, the electrical field E and the magnetic field H, and, as such is called the ether. (Born, 1924)

Thus we now realise that Lorentz's fundamental problem was believing that
the e-m field physically existed. The solution is to realize that, yes,
a fundamental Space does exist, as Faraday, Maxwell, and Lorentz sensibly
imagined, but it is a wave medium for real waves in a physical medium, described
by their Wave Amplitude only (Scalar waves). Space does not exist as an
'ether' for mathematical e-m waves of force (vector waves that must include
both force and direction of force for both Electric and Magnetic Fields).

No doubt this is confusing when first considered, this is why it is strongly recommended that you read this article twice. For once it is understood how modern physics evolved from these different and confusing ideas, then you find that the strange paradoxes that currently plague physics can be sensibly understood and explained.

To aid this understanding, let us now have Albert Einstein summarize this confusing state of affairs that had arisen by the early 1900s.

It became clear that there existed in free space states which
propagated themselves in **waves** as well as localized fields
which were able to exert forces on electrical masses or magnetic poles brought
to the spot. Since it would have seemed utterly absurd to the physicists
of the nineteenth century to attribute physical functions or states to space
itself, they invented a medium pervading the whole of space, on the model
of ponderable matter (i.e. tiny particles that moved backwards and forwards
as they propagated waves) the ether, which was supposed to act as a vehicle
for electromagnetic phenomena, and hence for those of light as well. The
picture was, then, as follows: space is filled by the ether, in which the
material corpuscles or atoms of ponderable matter swim around; the atomic
structure of the latter had been securely established by the turn of the
century (1900). Thus the introduction of the field as an elementary concept
gave rise to an inconsistency of the theory as a whole.

Maxwell's theory, although adequately describing the behaviour of electrically charged particles in their interaction with one another, does not explain the behaviour of electrical densities, i.e., it does not provide a theory of the particles themselves. They must therefore be treated as mass points on the basis of the old Newtonian theory. The combination of the idea of a continuous field with that of material points discontinuous in space appears inconsistent. Hence the material particle has no place as a fundamental concept in a field theory. Thus even apart from the fact that gravitation is not included, Maxwell's electrodynamics cannot be considered a complete theory. (Albert Einstein, 1950)

As Albert Einstein explains though, the particle was a necessary part of the evolution of the field theory, for 'forces' must have 'particles' to act upon!

The participation of matter in electromagnetic phenomena
has its origin only in the fact that the elementary particles of matter
carry unalterable masses and electric charges and on this account are subject
on the one hand to the actions of ponderomotive (Newtonian / Mass) forces
and on the other hand possess the property of generating a field (Charge).
The elementary particles obey Newton's law of motion for material points.
This is the basis on which H. A. Lorentz obtained his syntheses of Newton's
mechanics and Maxwell's field theory. The weakness of this theory lies in
the fact that it tried to determine the phenomena by a combination of partial
differential equations (Maxwell's field equations for empty space) and total
differential equations (equations of motion of point particles), which procedure
was obviously unnatural. The inadequacy of this point of view manifested
itself in the necessity of assuming finite dimensions for the particles
in order to prevent the electromagnetic field existing at the surfaces from
becoming infinitely large.

The Maxwell equations in their original form do not, however, allow such a description of particles, because their corresponding solutions contain a singularity. Theoretical physicists have tried for a long time (1936), therefore, to reach the goal by a modification of Maxwell's equations. These attempts have, however, not been crowned with success. Thus it happened that the goal of erecting a pure electromagnetic field theory of matter remained unattained for the time being, although in principle no objection could be raised against the possibility of reaching such a goal. What appears certain to me, however, is that, in the foundations of any consistent field theory the particle concept must not appear in addition to the field concept. The whole theory must by based solely on partial differential equations and their singularity-free solutions. (Albert Einstein, 1936)

(Note: A singularity is where the radius of the particle tends to zero thus the field strength tends to infinity and the mathematics to describe it fails. And this led to Feynman's problems of 'renormalisation' as explained in the Article on Quantum Theory.)

This explains why Albert Einstein tried to develop a field theory of matter (without the use/need of particles) though he never succeeded in this venture, simply because matter, as a Spherical Standing Wave Motion of Space cannot be described by continuous force fields. (i.e. Standing Wave interactions are discrete, not continuous!) Thus he writes;

Since the theory of general relativity implies the representation of physical reality by a continuous field, the concept of particles or material points cannot play a fundamental part, nor can the concept of motion. The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

We now realise his error of working with 'spherical force fields' rather than Spherical Wave Motions, whose changing velocities of In-Waves cause the apparent motions of the particles and thus the 'forces' between these particles! Thus he was correct to discard the concept of discrete particles, his error was to also discard the concept of motion and work with 'forces' when a careful analysis leads to the realisation that Motion is more fundamental than Force (i.e. Force first requires the measurement of Motion).

## Brief Biography of Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday was born on 22nd September 1791. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a London bookbinder. Reading many of the books in the shop, Faraday became fascinated by science, and wrote to Sir Humphry Davy at the Royal Institution asking for a job. On 1st March 1813, he was appointed laboratory assistant at the Royal Institution. There Faraday immersed himself in the study of chemistry, becoming a skilled analytical chemist. In 1823 he discovered that chlorine could be liquefied and in 1825 he discovered a new substance known today as benzene.

However, his greatest work was with electricity. In 1821, soon after the Danish chemist, Oersted, discovered the phenomenon of electromagnetism, Faraday built two devices to produce what he called electromagnetic rotation: that is a continuous circular motion from the circular magnetic force around a wire. Ten years later, in 1831, he began his great series of experiments in which he discovered electromagnetic induction. These experiments form the basis of modern electromagnetic technology. Faraday's descriptive theory of lines of force moving between bodies with electrical and magnetic properties enabled James Clerk Maxwell to formulate an exact mathematical theory of the propagation of electromagnetic waves.

In 1865, Faraday ended his connection with the Royal Institution after over 50 years of service. He died at his house at Hampton Court on 25th August 1867.

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