Biography of Alessandro Volta

Biography of Alessandro Volta

The famous physicist Count Alessandro Volta is considered the inventor of the electric battery.

Childhood and youth

Volta was born in Como, his parents were Filippo Volta and Maddalena Inzaghi. His family was from the middle class. As a child, Alessandro was not smarter than his peers, and did not speak until four years. But by the age of seven, he not only caught up with his peers in development, but also overtook them by ingenuity. Volta received his primary education at the Royal Seminary in Como. His parents wanted him to be educated as a lawyer or a priest, but Volta had already decided to link his life with chemistry and physics.


Volta’s career in physics began with teaching this subject at the Royal Seminary in Como. During the year he studied atmospheric electricity and conducted tests in the field of electrochemistry, electromagnetism and electrophysiology. In 1775, he invented an electric induction machine that produced a static electric charge. It was a device that produced electricity only from friction, and the charge could be transferred to other objects. Between 1776 and 1778 Volta studied the gases and discovered the presence of methane in the natural environment, which he eventually learned to distinguish.

In 1800, he invented the Volta pole – the first electric battery. The battery consisted of placed on top of each other plates of copper and zinc, which were separated by cardboard spacers soaked in

salt solution, which allowed maintaining an uninterrupted supply of electric current. Volta also developed a law of capacitive resistance and theoretically predicted the law of bimetallic contact.

Basic work

One of the main published works of the inventive scientist was “On the attractive power of electricity,” which was based on his in-depth studies of the problem of gravity in the electrical circuit.

Awards and achievements

Volta was recognized as an honorary member of the Royal Society of London in 1791 for his innovative work in physics, especially in the invention of an electroscope.

In 1794, the Royal Society of Great Britain awarded Volta with the Copley Medal for the discovery of Volta’s law on a number of electronic potentials.

In 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte granted Volta the title of Count, after Volta demonstrated to him the principle of the battery he invented.

Personal life and heritage

Volta married Teresa Peregrini, daughter of Count Ludovico Peregrini, in 1794. The couple had three sons.

Volta died at the age of 82 in his estate in Cumagno, Italy. He was buried there, and for his outstanding merit the place was renamed to Cumagno Volta.

The award of the name Alessandro Volta is awarded for scientific merit in the field of electricity.

During his life Volta collaborated with many outstanding personalities, including the famous French physicist Jean Antoine Nollet and the Italian experimenter Giovanni Battista.

Bern Dibner wrote a biography book titled “Alessandro Volta and the Electric Battery,” which was published in 1964.

Another book called Volta: Science and Culture in the Age of Enlightenment was written by Julian Pancaldi and published in 2005.

Interesting Facts

The image of Alessandro Volta and the sketch of the device invented by him – the voltaic pole – was present on banknotes of 10,000 lire in Italy.

Volta is also considered the father of an electric vehicle.

In memory of the outstanding personality of Volta in 2003, the company “Toyota” named its car “Toyota Volta”, and in 2011 the company “Chevrolet” also honored the name of the striking scientist.

In honor of Volta, his fellow scientists named the unit of measurement of electrical voltage – volts.

Bevatron – one of the types of accelerator of nuclear particles, in the name of which the letter “in” refers to the name of Alessandro Volta.

The photovoltaic system, which converts the energy of light into electricity, is named after Alessandro Volta.

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Biography of Alessandro Volta