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 Luigi Galvani

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Luigi Galvani

  • Birth 9 Sep 1737 Bologna, Città Metropolitana di Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • Death 4 Dec 1798 Bologna, Città Metropolitana di Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • Burial Bologna, Città Metropolitana di Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • Memorial ID 10817112

Scientist. His name is the origin of the word ‘galvanize’. In 1755 he began studying at the University of Bologna in the Faculty of Medicine, graduating in 1759. He was appointed lecturer in anatomy at the University. He married Lucia Galleazzi in 1764, the only daughter of Professor Galeazzi of the Bologna Academy of Science. Lucia was a modern woman who assisted Galvani in his experiments. Galvani began to experiment with muscular stimulation by electrical means. His notebooks indicate that, from the early 1780s, animal electricity was his major field of investigation. Galvani published his findings in 1791. He concluded that animal tissue contained a neglected innate, vital force, which he termed "animal electricity," which activated nerve and muscle when spanned by metal probes. He believed that this new force was a form of electricity in addition to the "natural" form that is produced by lightning and to the "artificial" form that is produced by friction (static electricity). He considered the brain to be the most important organ for the secretion of this "electric fluid" and the nerves to be conductors of the fluid. Galvani was correct in attributing muscular contractions to an electrical stimulus but wrong in identifying it as "animal electricity." On June 30, 1790, his wife died at the age of 47. The arrival of the Napoleonic forces to Bologna in 1796 brought about a great many changes. Napoleon insisted that anyone in public office swore an oath of loyalty to the Cisalpine Republic. Galvani’s religious beliefs made him refuse to swear the oath; he was therefore banned from teaching and, as a result, lost his income. Upon his death he was buried, according to his wishes, with his wife.

Bio by: Bunny Boiler


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bunny Boiler
  • Added: 19 Apr 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10817112
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Luigi Galvani (9 Sep 1737–4 Dec 1798), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10817112, citing Corpus Domini, Bologna, Città Metropolitana di Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy ; Maintained by Find A Grave .