Alessandro Volta Biography

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Alessandro Volta
Biography

Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Volta was an Italian scientist that is known for inventing the first battery. Volta was born into a noble family in Como, Italy on February 18, 1785. When Volta was twenty-nine years old he became a physics professor at the ‘Royal School’ in Como, Italy. He studied chemistry gases in the years of 1776 through 1778.

By 1778, Volta managed to make an electrical spark using methane, which he discovered in 1776 by collecting the gas from marshes... Volta was the first person to discover and isolate the compound methane.

The first battery that Alessandro Volta made was called the ‘Voltaic Pile’. The “Pile” consisted of discs of copper and zinc, stacked alternatively. In 1800, after going through extensive experimentation, Volta developed the voltaic pile. The original voltaic pile consisted of a pile of zinc and silver discs. The discs were separated by pieces of paper or cardboard and they were in between the alternating discs. The dividers were soaked in salt water. A copper wire connected the bottom zinc disc to the top silver disc could create frequent sparks. The top and the bottom layers had to be different metals and they were attached by a copper wire. When the circuit was closed electricity flowed through the Voltaic Pile.

In 1779, Volta became a professor one again at the “University of Pavia”, for about 25 years. In 1794, he married a woman named Teresa Peregrini, who was also from Como, Italy. They both raised three sons: Giovanni, Flamino and Zanino Volta.

Volta was acquired as a “count” by the French emperor, Napoleon, for his impeccable invention. He traveled to Paris, where a special gold medal was given him. Volta retired in 1819 in his hometown of Como, Italy. Alessandro Volta died on March 5, 1827, at the age of 82. He was buried in his late house, which is now called ‘Camnago Volta’.
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