Luigi Galvani

In 1762, aged just 26 and just a year after graduating, Luigi Galvani (1737-1798) was appointed as assistant professor of anatomy at the University.
Luigi Galvani

His extraordinary surgical skills went on to earn him the chair in Obstetrics at the Academy of Sciences, of which he later became president in 1772. His research into the organ structures of various animals led him to make the discoveries which were to ensure his recognition as one of the founders of modern electrotechnics in the late 18th century, along with his contemporaries Henry Cavendish, Benjamin Franklin and Alessandro Volta.

He was the first to discover the physiological action of electricity and in 1791 his work, De vibus electricitatis in motu muscolari commentarius, the culmination of ten years of research, was much debated in the international scientific field.

The subsequent experiments on the contraction of frog muscles and nerves when touched with a bimetal conductor, demonstrated that animal tissues contained bioelectric forces. The explanation of this phenomenon in any case led him to a controversy with Volta, a dispute in which reason and error were equally distributed.

Galvani's work contributed to the discovery by Volta, of the first electric battery.