Alessandro Volta

1745 (Como, Italy) – 1827 (Como)

The 18-year-old Volta corresponded with Spallanzani and Nollet. Inspired by Franklin’s and Priestley’s work, he wrote to Priestley about his generating device, the electrophorus. His realisation that Galvani was wrong about the frog’s legs led to his invention of the battery, and ultimately to the ending of their friendship. A great traveller, Volta visited Saussure in Switzerland (they discussed French poetry), stayed with Lichtenberg, worked with Laplace and Lavoisier as well as meeting Buffon and Franklin in France, and got to know Priestley, Banks and Watt in England. Voltaire arrived to meet him preceded by two mounted heralds.