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Luigi Galvani

Luigi Galvani (September 9, 1737 - December 4, 1798) was an Italian physician and physicist who lived and died in Bologna.

Dissecting a frog at a table where he had been conducting experiments with static electricity, Galvani touched an exposed sciatic nerve of the frog with his metal scalpel, which had picked up a charge. At that moment, he saw the dead frog's leg kick as if in life. The observation made Galvani among the first investigator to appreciate the relationship between electricity and life--or between electricity and biology. Indeed, Galvani is typically credited with the discovery of bioelectricity[?]. His biological investigations also led to the invention of the voltaic pile, which was an early electric battery, by his contemporary and sometimes intellectual adversary Alessandro Volta. Galvani coined the term animal electricity to describe the material or phenomenon that activated the muscles of his specimens. Contemporaries called it galvanism, following Volta's lead. Galvani and contemporaries regarded muscle activation as resulting from an electrical fluid or substance in the nerves.

Galvani's name also survives in the Galvanic cell and the term "galvanization". Originally referring to processes of electrodeposition, now it is typically used in reference to a purely chemical process of coating metals.



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