Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Volta

Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Volta is known as the scientist that founded the electric age. He was an Italian physicist pioneer that contributed greatly to the development of the battery. Alessandro Volta was born in Como, Italy in 1745. He attended a public school; in 1774 he was appointed professor of physics at the Royal School in Como. His first invention was an electrophorus; a device that produced static electricity. In 1776-77 he devoted his time to chemistry, studying atmospheric electricity, and devising experiments such as the ignition of gases by an electric spark in a closed vessel.

In 1779 he became professor of physics at the University of Pavia, a chair he occupied for 25 years. By the 1800 he had developed the so-called voltaic pile, the first invention of the electric battery; it produced a steady stream of electricity. Volta also studied what we now call electrical capacitance, developing separate means to study both electrical potential and charge; discovering that for a given object they are corresponding. This is called Volta’s Law of capacitance and for this work the unit of electrical currently has been named the Volt.

In 1794, Volta married Teresa Peregrini, with whom he raised three sons, Giovanni, Flaminio and Zanino. Volta retired in 1819 in his estate in Camnago, where he died on March 5, 1827. He is buried in Camnago, which is now called Camnago Volta named in honor of Alessandro. He is credited for the start of the electric age and there are many places and rewards named after him. MAIN BODY [pic] Alessandro improved and popularized the electrophorus which is an invention made by Jonah Carl Wilcke.

The electrophorus consists of a dielectric plate; it is an electrical insulator and a metal plate with an insulating handle. It works by the dielectric plate being charged through the triboelectric effect by rubbing it with fur or cloth. The dielectric gains create negative charge by rubbing together. Then, the metal plate is placed onto the dielectric plate; the dielectric does not transfer a significant fraction of its surface charge to the metal since the microscopic contact is poor. It makes two regions of charge positive charges and negative charges.

The positive charges in the plate are attracted to the side facing down toward the dielectric, charging it positively, while the negative charges are repelled to the side facing up, charging it negatively, with the plate remaining electrically neutral as a whole. Then, the side facing up is momentarily grounded, draining off the negative charge. The metal plate then is carrying only one sign of charge positive, is lifted. The electrophorus is an important device that played a significant role in the early development of electrostatic theory. [pic]

Alessandro invented the voltaic pile which was the first invention of an electric battery. He built on Galvani’s 1780s discovery of how a circuit of two metals and a frog’s leg can cause the frog’s leg to twitch; Volta realized that the source of the electricity was the metals. He proved in 1791 that when two metals and brine-soaked cloth or cardboard are arranged in a circuit they produce an electric current. In 1800, Volta stacked several pairs of alternating copper and zinc discs separated by cloth or cardboard soaked in brine to increase the electrolyte conductivity.

When the top and bottom contacts were connected by a wire, an electric current flowed through the voltaic pile and the connecting wire. The strength of the pile is expressed in terms of its electromotive force or emf, given in volts. Volta characterized the emf of a pair of metals in terms of the difference in their voltages, which he could measure. His theory of contact tension considered that the emf, which drives the electric current through a circuit containing a voltaic cell, occurs at the contact between the two metals.

The voltaic pile was, in the words of John L. Heilbron, “the last great discovery made with the instruments, concepts, and methods of the eighteenth-century electricians. ” He said the pile “opened up a limitless field,” the studies from which “transformed our civilization. Not long after the invention of the voltaic pile, electrical developments boomed. With the key that was the voltaic pile, scientists were able to further explore the study of electricity. The Volta Prize in French: le Prix Volta was established by Napoleon

Bonaparte in 1801–1802 to honor Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist noted for developing the battery. At that time Alessandro Volta was summoned to Paris to demonstrate his great discovery before the French Academy of Sciences. A museum in Como, the Voltian Temple, has been built in honor of Volta and contains some of the original instruments he used to conduct experiments. Near Lake Como stands the Villa Olmo, which houses the Voltian Foundation, an organization which promotes scientific activities.

The Emperor of Austria honored him naming him a professor of Philosophy at Padova. Also an electric unit Volt was named after Alessandro. And even now the French government awards the Volta Prize for scientific achievement in electricity. Also a portage of Alessandro Volta, appeared on Italian 10. 000 lira banknote before the introduction of the euro came to Italy. There are many places named in honor of Volta; he is known as one of the great scientists, who will always be remebered for creating the first ever battery.


Alessandra opened many doors for research in the 1700s. He improved and popularized the electrophorus which is a device that helped in the development of the electrostatic theory. His last invention in the eighteenth-century was the voltaic pile which opened up the field of intvention and eventually led to the discovery of the electric battery. Without Alessandra everything in our world would be a lot different. Alessandra’s invention plays a huge role in the everyday life of an individual. For example, when you start your car, turn on a camera, or talk on your cell phone.

We can be thankful to Alessandra for his great invention, as he started the whole age of electric batteries. [pic] BIBLIOGRAPHY/ REFERENCE http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Alessandro_Volta http://techblogbiz. blogspot. com/2006/10/10-great-scientists-of-world. html http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Volta_Prize http://inventors. about. com/od/utstartinventors/a/Alessandro_Volta. htm http://www. corrosion-doctors. org/Biographies/VoltaBio. htm http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Electrophorus http://simple. wikipedia. org/wiki/Voltaic_pile