History of the prize
This prize, founded in 1867, commemorates Michael Faraday, an elected fellow and keen advocate of the then-called Chemical Society.
Faraday was born in 1791 in Surrey. He started work as an apprentice bookseller in 1804 where he met Mr Dance, a member of the Royal Institute, who helped him attend Sir Humphrey Davy's lectures. These inspired him to apply to Davy for employment and in 1813 he began as a laboratory assistant at the Royal Institute (where he would later become director). After less than a year Faraday resigned his post in order to accompany Davy on a tour through France, Switzerland and Italy where he initiated lasting friendships with highly regarded philosophers.
On his return, in 1815, he resumed work at the Royal Institution and began research which he continued throughout his life. Published research included the discovery of magneto-electricity (1831), the great law of electrochemical composition (1833), and researches in atmospheric magnetism (1850). Some of his greatest chemical discoveries were the condensation of gases, including chlorine, and the production of new hydrocarbons, including benzol.
Faraday was highly regarded for his enthusiastic lecturing style, which often included successful experimental demonstrations. His Royal Institute lectures began in 1827 on the topic of Chemical Philosophy, and closed in 1860 with a Christmas course on the Chemical History of a Candle. Faraday was widely recognised for his contributions through numerous awards, including the Royal Society's Copley, Rumford and Royal Medals, and election as a member to all the great scientific bodies in Europe and America.
Faraday gradually withdrew from active duties and died on 25 August 1867. The Chemical Society, in which he always took great interest, said of him "In all relations of life, Faraday was respected and beloved".