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Alessandro Volta, Italian Physicist
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Volta posing with his newly-invented battery or "Voltaic pile". Alessandro Volta (1745-1827) was an Italian physicist. He became interested in electricity in 1786 after seeing the work of Galvani. Volta was the first to show that an electrical current flowed when two dissimilar metals were brought into contact. In 1800 he constructed a device which used this effect to produce a large flow of electricity. Bowls of salt solution were connected together by metal strips, each composed of copper at one end & tin or zinc at the other, and a current was produced. A compact version of this, using a stack of discs of copper, zinc & cardboard moistened with salt solution, was shown to Napolean in 1801. Upon presenting his invention, Napolean awarded Volta the medal of the Legion of Honor and made Volta a count. The unit of electrical potential, the volt (V), is named after him.
March 7th, 2013
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