In the 1790s, Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta were the main protagonists of a lively debate on the role of electricity in animal organisms. Significant developments originated from this debate, leading to the foundation of two new disciplines, electrodynamics and electrophysiology, that were to play a crucial role in the scientific and technological progress of the last two centuries. The Galvani-Volta controversy has been repeatedly reconstructed, sometimes in an attempt to identify the merits and the errors of one or the other of the two protagonists, sometimes with the aim of demonstrating that the theories elaborated by the two Italian scholars were irreconcilable, reflecting completely different ways of looking at phenomena and conceiving of scientific research. In this article a different interpretation is offered, based on a discussion of the scientific issues that were central to Galvani's and Volta's research, and with reference to the context of science and society of the eighteenth century.

Animal electricity at the end of the eighteenth century: the many facets of a great scientific controversy

BRESADOLA, Marco
2008

Abstract

In the 1790s, Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Volta were the main protagonists of a lively debate on the role of electricity in animal organisms. Significant developments originated from this debate, leading to the foundation of two new disciplines, electrodynamics and electrophysiology, that were to play a crucial role in the scientific and technological progress of the last two centuries. The Galvani-Volta controversy has been repeatedly reconstructed, sometimes in an attempt to identify the merits and the errors of one or the other of the two protagonists, sometimes with the aim of demonstrating that the theories elaborated by the two Italian scholars were irreconcilable, reflecting completely different ways of looking at phenomena and conceiving of scientific research. In this article a different interpretation is offered, based on a discussion of the scientific issues that were central to Galvani's and Volta's research, and with reference to the context of science and society of the eighteenth century.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/525926
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