Giovanni Battista Beccaria

Giambattista Beccaria

1716 (Mondovì, Italy) – 1781 (Turin)

Beccaria was, in the early days of the field, one of the world’s leading exponents of electricity; sometimes better known for his promotion of his friend Franklin’s brilliant but more disorganised work, he taught some of the next generation’s leading lights — Lagrange, Galvani — although barely encouraging Volta when the 18-year-old wrote outlining his own ideas. Banks and Priestley corrresponded with him, as did Franklin (intesively), Lavoisier and Boscovich, while Burney (who described the sometimes-grouchy churchman as “large and noble”) became a friend in Turin. Bassi also corresponded, and collaborated on some experiments.