(September 9, 1737 – December 4, 1798)

The electric battery ranks among the most important inventions of the 18th century; and indeed, of all times. Although Luigi Galvani did not invent it, he influenced its development more than any other individual: albeit inadvertently. It was him who first noticed (on November 6 1787) that electricity was generated when different metals were connected to the muscles of a dead frog. Despite misinterpreting it, (by insinuating that the animal produced the current), his findings enabled Alessandro Volta correct the misconception: and thereby, conceive the idea of batteries. Hence, our contemporary concept of bioelectricity began with this ambidextrous surgeon. Galvani’s error did not prevent him from being the eponym of current-detecting instrument: the galvanometer. It was a well-deserved honor, because the idea of a galvanometer emanated from the frog galvanoscope which he invented: following his many experiments with dead frog tissues. Luigi Galvani also merited the eponyms of galvanization and other things attributed to him. His influence in the development of battery was tremendous. And the prominence it brought him overshadowed his other exploits in both surgery and anatomy. Although he remained a distinguished professor of surgery and anatomy, Galvani kept experimenting on “animal electricity” for the remainder of his life. Among his most notable publications are: De Viribus Electricitatis in Motu Musulari Commentraius, Memorie sulla Elettricità Animale, and Memorie ed Esperimenti Inediti. Alongside other honors, the Galvani Potential, the Italian Chemical Society’s Luigi Galvani Medal, the 10184 Galvani asteroid and the 80-kilometer-wide Galvani lunar crater are dedicated to his memory.


  1. Poor Galvani was overshadowed by Volta. I’m glad to see him here. He deserves more credits than some people are willing to give him.

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