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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
- About Us
18 February 1999 7:00 pm
is the birthday of Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist born in 1745 who discovered how to produce electric current. It was known that muscles in dead frogs contract when two dissimilar metals (brass and iron) are put in contact with one another and the muscle. Volta proposed that the source of the electricity was not the animal tissue but rather the junction of the metals, and he made a list that ranked metals according to the strength of the sensation they produced on his tongue. By 1800, Volta discovered how to create high electric currents, using two arrangements of conductors: one a pile of silver and zinc discs separated by cardboard moistened with brine; the other a series of glasses containing saltwater and connected with bimetallic, curved electrodes. This paved the way for discoveries about electromagnetism and the invention of electrical machines. The unit of electric potential, the volt, is named in his honor.
[Source: Roy Porter, Ed., The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists (Oxford University Press, ed. 2, 1994).]