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Luigi Galvani ( 1737 - 1798 )  Category ( Physicists ) [suggest a correction]

Luigi GalvaniIf you've ever heard the term, "galvanism" (contraction of a muscle that is stimulated by an electric current), you can attribute it to Luigi Galvani. Galvani was born in Bologna Italy on September 9, 1737, and he intended to enter the church. But, his parents directed him to a medial career instead. Upon graduation, he was appointed public lecturer in anatomy in 1762, and he soon gained a reputation as a skilled teacher on the organs of hearing and genito-urinary tract of birds.

His theory of animal electricity was outlined in a treatise, "De viribus electricitatis in motu musculari commentarius," and published in the 7th volume of the memoirs of the Institute of Sciences at Bologna in 1791. This theory was published after Galvani noticed that a skinned frog leg, after being accidently touched by a scalpel that had been in close proximity to an electrical machine, exhibited violent convlusions. In Galvani's view, the motions of the muscle were the result of the union, by means of the metallic arc, of its exterior or negative electrical charge with positive electricity which proceeded along the nerve from its inner substance.

Galvani's experiments helped to establish the basis for the biological study of neurophysiology and neurology. The paradigm shift was complete: nerves were not water pipes or channels, as Descartes and his contemporaries thought, but electrical conductors. Information within the nervous system was carried by electricity generated directly by the organic tissue. As the result of the experimental demonstrations carried out by Galvani and his followers, the electrical nature of the nerve-muscle function was revealed. However, it wasn't until a direct proof could only be made when scientists could be able to measure or to detect the natural electrical currents generated in the nervous and muscular cells. Galvani did not have the technology to measure these currents, because they were too small. Galvani's work was instrumental in leading Volta to the invention of the first electric battery.

Galvani held his chair for 33 years but was dismissed in 1797 following the Napoleonic occupation. He refused to take the Napoleonic oath of allegiance, and he was removed from his professorship. Deprived of his means of livelihood, he retired to his brother's house, where he died one year later.

Image: Italian physicist Luigi Galvani.

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Title :Adventures in CyberSound: Galvani, Luigi
Description : An on-line, academic work that will research the history of radio and the related media services of telegraphy, telephony, facsimile, television, photography and cinema. The project will also develop an on-line resource centre based on the above research. The project will subsequently develop the document A Future for Radio? and a prototype interactive on-line broadcast radio service, A Radio for the Future?
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