Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist

Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist

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Credit: GARY BROWN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), Italian physicist. Volta invented the electric battery, announcing his discovery in 1800. His battery consisted of alternating disks of silver and zinc with brine-soaked card between them. Volta, professor at the universities of Como and Pavia, had started studying electricity in 1786 after seeing the work of Galvani who showed that frog bodies twitched when electric current is passed through them. The International Standard (SI) unit of electrical potential difference, the volt, is named after Volta. He was awarded the French Legion of Honour in 1805 and made a Count of the Kingdom of Italy by the Emperor Napoleon in 1810.

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