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Faraday was one of the greatest experimentalists of the 19th century. The son of a blacksmith, he received a minimal education, which did not include much training in mathematics. In 1812 he was hired by Sir Humphrey Davy at the Royal Institution as a laboratory assistant where he remained until his retirement. Here, he made his contributions to the study of electricity by formulating the laws of electrolysis in 1834. He also discovered that the circular lines of magnetic force produced by the flow of current through a wire deflect a nearby compass needle. By demonstrating this conversion of electrical energy into motive force, Faraday identified the basic principles governing the application of the electric motor. Faraday was widely known as a popularizer of science, regularly lecturing to lay audiences from 1852 to 1862. He was an extremely modest person, and actually declined honors bestowed in recognition of his accomplishments, including a knighthood and the presidency of the Royal Society.