Alessandro Volta

Italian physicist, & chemist

Background Information & Education

Alessandro was born in Como, Lombardy, Italy on February 18,1745. His family wasn't wealthy but they were part of the nobility.Because he showed no signs of talking until the age of four his family thought he wasn't intelligent or possibly dumb. His father died when he was seven years old. He died leaving the family with unpaid debts. Alessandro was home by his uncle, then he went to study at Jesuit Boarding school. His family withdrew him from the school because the school pressurized him to become a priest but his family didn't want that. Until eighteen years of age Alessandro studied at Benzi Semintary. Volta's family wanted him to become a lawyer but Volta was interested with the world around him; he wanted to become a scientist. was slow to speak Italian; he had learned Latin, French, English, and German before he left school.

Contributions to Science

Volta's contribution to science was the electric battery, which people then called the "Voltaic Pile". The battery consisted of alternating disks of zinc and silver (or copper and pewter) separated by paper or cloth soaked either in salt or sodium hydroxide. Alessandro Volta is also famous for the discovery of methane. Methane was found in November 1776 in the marshes of Lake Maggiore straddling Italy and Switzerland.