Man of the day

My work at the moment is, at best, menial and unchallenging, consistenting mostly of putting papers into envelopes and hour after hour after endless hour of sticking stickers on said envelopes. As such, no matter how much I sign up to RSS feeds for, it still feels like I exhaust the internet in the space of a morning, leaving a punishingly long afternoon ahead. Thank goodness, then, for Wikipedia, particularly its random article button.

Today I returned after a delightful weekend, to an article on the Faraday monument at Elephant and Castle, on the ever-green-and-pleasant Nothing To See Here. You wouldn’t really know it’s anything to do with the great scientist unless you stopped to find the explanatory plaque, the original brutalist design having been curbed, even in 1961, quite presciently by fears of vandalism. And so off I trot to look up Faraday, and lo and behold: the guy’s a dude.

Faraday’s story is an inspiring one: born to poor family in South London, Faraday became apprenticed to a bookseller at 14. As a result he became a voracious bookreader and put into practice what he studied, including such eminent tomes as The Improvement Of The Mind by Isaac Watts, an impressive read for a teenager. He worked his way up through attending lectures at the Royal Institution and Royal Society, became good friends and assistant to Humphrey Davy, before eclipsing even Davy to become one of the most respected scientists there’s been. All this through hard work and dedication – not, as would so often be expected today, through treading on other people to get to the top. Faraday seems unambitious: he refused a knighthood and presidentship of the RS, preferring instead to concentrate his outside work on his spiritual life and church, in North London. “Speculations? I have none. I am resting on certainties.”

All this puts Faraday at high on the list of baby names (don’t worry, I haven’t got knocked up): most likely a middle name (I’m rejecting silly first names on the basis that this time in a couple of months I may have a niece named Sienna). 

Plus look at him: the guy’s obviously a dude.


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