Faraday v Dalton: Who was the greatest scientist?

Michael Faraday and John Dalton made important breakthroughs in science, including many discoveries that are vital to our lives today.

How did they do this? It was their ability to "think like scientists"...

Find out what happens when Michael Faraday and John Dalton go head-to-head to decide who is the greatest scientist.


Michael Faraday was born near London in 1791. As a result of his hard work, Faraday:

  • Worked out how to make electric motors, which use electricity to make things move.
  • Discovered that moving a magnet through a coil of wire makes an electric current.
  • Found out how to turn certain gases (for example chlorine) into liquid.

We benefit from Faraday’s discoveries every day. Electricity powers many everyday appliances, electric motors are important components for cars and his work on gases led to the invention of the fridge.

Michael Faraday (1791 - 1867)


John Dalton was born in 1766 and worked in Manchester. His achievements include:

  • Developing atomic theory. This states that everything is made up of tiny particles called atoms and that each element has its own type of atom.
  • Keeping detailed weather records for more than 50 years.
  • Writing the first ever scientific paper on colour blindness.

Dalton was hugely influential. His atomic theory now underpins the whole of modern chemistry and his work on colour blindness inspired many further studies.

John Dalton (1766 - 1844)

New scientific discoveries are made all the time. A discovery may start with a surprising or a scientific question. The scientist may then work alone, or with others, to create a . A hypothesis is a possible explanation based on limited evidence.

The scientist will then test their hypothesis. They do this by carrying out an experiment (or making observations) to collect evidence. The scientist then analyses the evidence and uses it to come up with a

The scientist will consider the strength of the conclusion and may then tell other scientists about their findings.

Find out more about working scientifically and doing experiemnts.

Faraday v Dalton quiz

Test your knowledge on Faraday and Dalton with this quick quiz.

Where next?

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