The experience of crosing electricity over a stretch of water at Calais, 1794.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Blanchard, titled; 'Experiences sur le pasage du galvanisme a travers une partie de l'Ocean faites a Calais, par Aldini, le 27 fevrier 1794.' The illustration shows an experiment asociated with Luigi Galvani (1737-1798), Italian physiologist, who discovered animal electricity by connecting the leg muscle of a frog to its corresponding nerve. The term 'galvanise' - to shock or excite into action - takes its name from him. The experiment in the illustration was conducted by Giovanni Aldini (1762-1834), Galvani's nephew, whose work contributed greatly to making Galvani's theories more widely known. Aldani suggested that electricity could be used to revive the dead, an idea that supposedly inspired the author Mary Shelley to write 'Frankenstein'.