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Portrait of Luigi Galvani, 1737-1798

Portrait of Luigi Galvani, 1737-1798

H407/0117

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Italian anatomist Luigi Galvani (1737- 1798). Galvani noticed that the muscles of dissected frog legs twitched wildly when struck by an electric spark. Since lightning had been shown to be electrical in nature, Galvani reasoned that frog muscles might twitch during a thunderstorm. He therefore put samples on brass hooks & hung them outside on an iron latticework. They were found to twitch in the absence of lightning: in fact whenever they formed a contact between the two different metals. Galvani assumed the electricity came from the animal itself, but in 1800 Volta showed that it originated in the metals, and led him to produce the first battery,.

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