chapter  20
6 Pages

Faraday’s unified field concept

Strongly influenced by the 18th century thinker, Roger Boscovich, Michael Faraday, in the 19th century, introduced the field concept to physics with its application to the description and understanding of the phenomena of electricity and magnetism. He speculated that, contrary to the atomistic view of matter, its fundamental description should instead be in terms of continuous fields of force. These were to represent the strength with which matter affects matter, at the continuum of points in space and time. Calling this description ‘fundamental’ meant that it was the continuous field of force that was to be taken as the essence of matter, rather than considering this as a secondary (derivative) feature of a quantity of matter. The ‘thing’ feature of the atomistic view, for example in terms of its position, momentum and energy, all localized in space, was then taken to be secondary-to be derived later, as a consequence of the primary field of force-rather than the other way around.