Faraday's Election To The Royal Society

Within a month so of his return to England Faraday was re-employed by The Institution, and remained connected to it for the rest of his days.

In the meanwhile Davy had become President of the Royal Society, a highly prestigious organisation which had been formed way back in 1660 as Britain's foremost academy of science. This was not necessarily a popular move; many people felt that he was to overbearing and arrogant to fulfil this post.

Faraday's reputation had been building up thanks, for example, to his chemical experiments on steel alloys, and he had continued to co-operate occasionally with Davy. The effects of electro – magnetism had been noticed years earlier by the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston; his attempt to demonstrate this to the Royal Society had failed however. In early 1821 Faraday demonstrated that he could make an electric current in a wire by moving it in a magnetic field. This annoyed Davy since no mention was made of the prior work by Wollaston; and to make things worse Faraday, after some suggestions by Davy, had managed to liquefy chlorine gas but, apparently, had taken all the credit for himself and had not mentioned Davy's input. The movement of a wire in a magnetic field is of course the whole basis of electromagnetic induction, for which Faraday is credited with being the discoverer. Davy felt that the true accolades belong to Wollaston, who declined to pursue the matter but controversy continued for some time.

Faraday was nominated to the Fellowship of the Royal Society; Davy insisted that he stood down but nevertheless, despite this opposition from the president, no less, Faraday was elected shortly afterwards and much of his major work was published by the society from then on. The relationship between the two men was never the same afterwards.