Luigi Galvani | Sunday Observer

Luigi Galvani

25 September, 2022

From the earliest times scientists have been trying to harness the mysterious force which we call electricity today. Luigi Galvani and many other scientists were responsible for the present age of electrical wonders.

We know very little about Galvani’s childhood. After his birth at Bologna in 1737, he became a deeply religious boy who wanted to enter the Church. His parents, however, got him educated until he became a physician.

Biologist and philosopher

He studied anatomy with great interest and became a lecturer at the University of Bologna.

Galvani was also a biologist and philosopher who studied animal electricity. In 1780, he and his wife Lucia Galvani discovered that the muscles of dead frogs’ legs twitched when struck by an electrical spark.

The ‘Galvanic battery’

From the experiments he came up with the ‘Galvanic battery.’ It became a subject of some interesting experiments done by Sir Humphrey Davy. He found that if a rod of carbon wire was attached to each terminal a brilliant light resulted. It was the beginning of lighting by electricity. With the help of Prof. Volta he discovered that powerful electricity could be produced by metallic pairs.

This was an early study of bioelectricity following experiments by John Walsh and Hugh Williamson.

A treatise

Galvani published a treatise on his experiments which was reprinted several times.

He actively investigated animal electricity until the end of his life. When the Cisalpine Republic required every professor to swear loyalty to the new authority, he refused to do so. As a result, he lost all his academic and public positions. He died peacefully surrounded by his patients on December 4,1798.