Famous Scientists and their Inventions - Alessandro Volta
Born- 18th Feb 1745 in Como, Italy.
Died-5 March 1827 Camnago Volta, Italy. Aged 82
Italian physicist, chemist, and pioneer of electricity and power.
As well as giving his name to the Volt that we all use today his main accomplishment would be that of creating what we now call a battery. He is also credited with the isolation of methane gas, previously known as “flammable air”.
In 1791, Volta’s colleague Luigi Galvani noticed that frog legs move when they were touched with two different types of metal. While Galvani believed there was something in the muscles of the frog that was causing this effect, Volta had another idea and thought it was the liquid in the frog's legs that was having an effect. Volta created a pile of plates of different metal types with rags soaked in brine.
This was known as the voltaic pile, forming the first electrochemical cell or battery. Volta experimented with various metals and liquids and found at the time that copper and zinc with an acidic liquid produced the best and most consistent results.
The voltaic pile demonstrated and debunked a long-held theory that electricity was generated solely by living beings. This voltaic pile was also superior to the Leyden jar that other scientists were using as it did not require recharging before every use.
Although a quiet man who placed a lot of emphasis on family life he was held in high esteem from his students at the University of Pavia, where he lectured for 40 years. He also drew admiration from Napoleon after demonstrating his battery and was bestowed certain honours from Napoleon himself, amongst which was the title of count in 1810.
"You must be ready to give up even the most attractive ideas when experiment shows them to be wrong."