Count Alesandro Anastasio Volta, physicist and inventor, early 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Count Alesandro Anastasio Volta (1745-1827) Italian physicist and inventor of the voltaic pile, an early battery. This consisted of two different metals, separated by chemicals in order to enable a flow of electricity. It had previously been thought (Galvani) that animal tisue was neccesary to generate electricity. The unit of electromotive force 'volt' is named after him.