Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Minds Behind the BrainA history of the pioneers and their discoveries$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Stanley Finger

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181821

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181821.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 September 2020

Luigi Galvani: Electricity and the Nerves

Luigi Galvani: Electricity and the Nerves

(p.101) 8 Luigi Galvani: Electricity and the Nerves
Minds Behind the Brain

Stanley Finger (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Physiologists in the opening decades of the 18th century were skeptical of existing theories about how the nerves work. Some scientists began to wonder whether the nervous system may work by electricity, a term coined by the British physicist William Gilbert around 1600. Because so many people were involved with electricity, and because knowledge about electricity led to developments in so many different scientific fields, some broad-minded historians say that there was no single figure dominating the study of electricity at this time. When discussions narrow to just the history of neurophysiology, however, Luigi Galvani stood out. Galvani's experiments and theories were not as revolutionary as they were evolutionary. Galvani studied electricity with animals because this was one of the most exciting things an aspiring scientist could do, and he was the recipient of a wealth of experimental findings and new ideas. This chapter looks at Galvani's experiments with animals such as frogs, his theory on animal electricity, and his conflict with Alessandro Volta. Works on electrotherapy and the electric fish are also considered.

Keywords:   Luigi Galvani, electricity, nerves, animals, experiments, Alessandro Volta, electrotherapy, electric fish, animal electricity, neurophysiology

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .