|The Galvani-Volta controversy
8. Invention announced, 20th March 1800
Volta announced his invention to the scientific community on 20th March 1800 in a letter to Sir Joseph Banks, the President of the Royal Society in London. It is interesting to note that Volta often called his apparatus artificial electric organ, referring to the electric power produced naturally by the torpedo fish. The name pile (pila) came later from the pile or column shape of the device.
Its success was extraordinary and, we can now say, long-lasting. Although French scientists wondered why, Napoleon, as a member of the Institut de France, solemnly awarded the Institutes gold medal in 1801 to Volta.
Volta had finished his research program and did not pick up on the new topics for debate which the battery was creating (chemical interpretation, new experiments). He merely repeated how unique the electric fluid was and continually denied the existence of animal electricity.
Volta demostring his experiments to Napoleon