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[$800] The Greatest Minds: Alessandro Volta

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The Greatest Minds: Alessandro Volta

Ends: 05/02/2021 @Midday (12pm) GMT 


Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (/ˈvoʊltə, ˈvɒltə/, Italian: [alesˈsandro ˈvɔlta]; 18 February 1745 – 5 March 1827) was an Italian physicist, chemist and lay Catholic who was a pioneer of electricity and power[2][3][4] who is credited as the inventor of the electric battery and the discoverer of methane. He invented the voltaic pile in 1799, and reported the results of his experiments in 1800 in a two-part letter to the President of the Royal Society.[5][6] With this invention Volta proved that electricity could be generated chemically and debunked the prevalent theory that electricity was generated solely by living beings. Volta's invention sparked a great amount of scientific excitement and led others to conduct similar experiments, which eventually led to the development of the field of electrochemistry.[6]

Volta also drew admiration from Napoleon Bonaparte for his invention, and was invited to the Institute of France to demonstrate his invention to the members of the institute. Volta enjoyed a certain amount of closeness with the emperor throughout his life and he was conferred numerous honours by him.[1] Volta held the chair of experimental physics at the University of Pavia for nearly 40 years and was widely idolised by his students.[1]

Despite his professional success, Volta tended to be a person inclined towards domestic life and this was more apparent in his later years. At this time he tended to live secluded from public life and more for the sake of his family until his eventual death in 1827 from a series of illnesses that began in 1823.[1] The SI unit of electric potential is named in his honor as the volt.




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