Alessandro Volta is an Italian physicist famously known for his invention of the electric battery.
Batteries provided a steady source of electric current and electric devices depend on electric current. Without Volta’s invention, there could be no modern technology in our cities. Today, batteries may seem trivial or commonplace yet it powers our phones, laptops, digital device, cars, etc.
Volta was born on February 18, 1745 in the town of Como of what is now present-day northern Italy. He is born of a noble lineage. His family wanted him to become a lawyer but he went on to become a scientist.
Volta became a professor of physics in 1774 at Como’s Royal School. In 1775, Volta invented a device which was a source of static electricity. He called the device electrophorus.
During the 1800s, there were different theories about how electricity was generated. One was proposed by Luigi Galvani which stated that there was a special electricity in animals which he demonstrated by connecting two different metals with a frog’s leg which in turn causes it to twitch.
Volta said that the animals however merely conducted normal electricity; Animal electricity and electricity are the same. He went on to invent the early form of electric battery in 1899. The battery is consisted of discs of different metals, such as copper, zinc, and silver, separated by cardboard that is soaked in brine.
The battery that Volta invented sparked leaps in scientific discoveries. Chemists during that time used the battery to perform experiments and isolate new chemical elements which opened up another world of scientific discoveries. Volta’s batteries are also instrumental in the early studies of electricity and magnetism.
The unit of electrical potential is called the volt in honor of Alessandro Volta.