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Faraday’s law of induction describes how an electric current produces a magnetic field and, conversely, how a changing magnetic field generates an electric current in a conductor. English physicist Michael Faraday gets the credit for discovering magnetic induction in 1831, but American physicist Joseph Henry independently made the same discovery at about the same time, according to the University of Texas at Austin.

It is impossible to overstate the significance of Faraday’s discovery. Magnetic induction enables the electric motors, generators and transformers that form the foundation of modern technology. By understanding and using induction, we have an electric power grid and many of the things we plug into it.

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