|Alessandro Volta, man and scientist
6. Animal electricity and the debate with Galvani
In Spring 1792, Volta got to know of Galvanis experiments on possible animal electricity.
He was incredulous and began to repeat the experiments carefully. Initially his results agreed with those of the scientist from Bologna and underlined the importance of the discovery. But a second enquiry, concentrating on the quantitative aspects, gradually convinced him that the contractions of the frog were not due to the presence of electricity remaining in the dead frog, and circulating via a metal arc connecting muscle and nerve, but to some external electricity caused by the contact of the two metals constituting the arc.
The frog therefore takes on the role of a simple but extremely sensitive electroscope.
Voltas idea was not accepted by Galvani and the supporters of animal electricity.
Portraits of Alessandro Volta and Luigi Galvani
This argument split the whole European scientific world into Voltaists and Galvanists.