When the permanent magnet moves inside of the coil, the mechanical energy of the movement is converted into electricity. While this experiment was uncomplicated, it was also revolutionary. Faraday’s work was translated into an equation by James Clerk Maxwell, who went on the expand on Faraday’s findings and create other equations that are the backbone of the study of electromagnetism. Electromagnetic induction is still crucial to the modern world, and is used in devices like generators, transformers, and electric motors. It can also be used to wirelessly charge devices like an electric toothbrush or phone.
To give credit where credit is due, Joseph Henry was not far behind in his independent discovery of electromagnetic induction in 1832. Dig deeper into the history of important scientists in our Pioneers section.