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The Shocking History of Electric FishesFrom Ancient Epochs to the Birth of Modern Neurophysiology$
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Stanley Finger and Marco Piccolino

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195366723

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195366723.001.0001

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John Walsh’s Scientific Journey

John Walsh’s Scientific Journey

(p.230) Chapter 15 John Walsh’s Scientific Journey
The Shocking History of Electric Fishes

Stanley Finger

Marco Piccolino

Oxford University Press

Colonel John Walsh more than anyone else would make electric fish electrical. He was elected into the Royal Society in 1770, being “a Gentleman well acquainted with philosophical & polite literature, & particularly versed in the natural history and antiquities of India”. After his election into the Royal Society, Walsh interacted with the organization's esteemed natural philosophers and electrical scientists. Of these people, Franklin was singularly important. Not only did Franklin introduce Walsh to other people of merit in the organization, he played the leading role in encouraging Walsh to devote his scientific energies to sea torpedoes, and specifically to test the hypothesis that their discharges are electrical.

Keywords:   sea torpedoes, animal electricity, Benjamin Franklin, Colonel John Walsh, Royal Society

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