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Shocking FrogsGalvani, Volta, and the Electric Origins of Neuroscience$
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Marco Piccolino and Marco Bresadola

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199782161

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782161.001.0001

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The Controversy Between Galvani and Volta Over Animal Electricity

The Controversy Between Galvani and Volta Over Animal Electricity

The First Stage

(p.141) 6 The Controversy Between Galvani and Volta Over Animal Electricity
Shocking Frogs

Marco Piccolino

Marco Bresadola

Nicholas Wade

Oxford University Press

The publication of Galvani’s memoir in 1791started a lively debate all over Europe and in the last decade of the eighteenth century animal electricity became the most important scientific topic being debated by the medical and scientific community, along with the new chemistry proposed by Antoine Laurent Lavoisier. A particular interest in Galvani’s experiments was taken by Alessandro Volta, physicist in Pavia and an expert in electrical studies. This chapter focuses on the early stage of the controversy between Galvani and Volta from new perspectives, which allow to get a better understanding of the scientific issues implied in the arguments of the two Italian scientists, and also to correct a few historiographical errors that have been made in the interpretation of both Galvani’s and Volta’s scientific work

Keywords:   alessandro volta, scientific controversies, animal electricity, metallic electricity

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