Alessandro Volta: The 3 Ways He Impacted Society

Born18th of February, 1745
Died5th of March, 1827
Famous Quote“You must be ready to give up even the most attractive ideas when experiment shows them to be wrong”
Known ForInventor of electric battery, discovered methane, founding the modern field of electrical engineering
Region of WorldItaly, 18th and 19th century
Further ReadingThe Battery: 3 Ways The Invention of The Battery Changed History

Alessandro Volta today remains one of the most influential scientists and inventors that has ever impacted society. He was born into 18th century Italy and over the course of his 82 year long life he would come to radically change the world forever.

Alessandro Volta impacted society in 3 major ways. First, he invented the world’s first electric battery to prove another scientist wrong. Second, Alessandro Volta discovered the element of methane and used it in his experiments. Third, Volta would serve 40 years as a professor at the University of Pavia where he would help found the modern field of electrical engineering.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 ways Alessandro Volta impacted society.

Alessandro Volta Invented The World’s First Battery

One of the main ways that Alessandro Volta impacted society was by creating the world’s first battery.

Alessandro Volta would create the battery after a disagreement with fellow scientist Luigi Galvani. Volta believed that electricity came from a series of positively charged ions and negatively charged ions moving against each other.

After a disagreement Volta decided he would create an invention just to prove Galvani wrong.

On March 20th, 1800 Alessandro Volta wrote to the London Royal Society that he had created an invention that was capable of producing electrical current from plates of copper and nickel stacked on top of each other.

This was a groundbreaking discovery by Alessandro Volta. Before his invention of the battery science believed that only living things could create electrical energy. Alessandro Volta demonstrated that it was not biochemistry but rather minerals and their polarity that would create electricity.

This discovery and invention forever changed society. Today people around the world interact with batteries on a daily basis. Modern cell phones, cars, toys, and televisions all use this battery technology that Volta discovered over 300 years ago.

As such one of the main ways that Alessandro Volta impacted society was by developing the world’s first battery. Today this has impacted billions of people worldwide.

Alessandro Volta Discovered The Element Of Methane

Another way in which Alessandro Volta impacted society forever was by discovering the element of methane.

After reading a paper written by Benjamin Franklin on the possibility of flammable air rising up out of marshes, bogs, and wet ground Volta decided he would track down the source.

In the winter of 1776 Volta would travel from Italy up into the marshes of Lake Maggiore on the border of modern Switzerland and Italy. Over the span of multiple days he would collect various air samples from bubbles in the late and take them back to his lab.

While in his lab Alessandro Volta would experiment with his captured methane. Here he would discover many properties of methane such as its lighter than air properties and its flammability.

Alessandro Volta remains to this day the first scientist who collected methane and demonstrated that under a controlled environment it could be ignited with a spark of electricity.

As such, one of the main ways that Alessandro Volta impacted society was by discovering methane and its various properties.

Alessandro Volta Served 40 Years As A Professor At The University Of Pavia Where He Helped Found The Modern Field Of Electrical Engineering

F125d - Own work
L'Aula Magna risale al 1850 ed è la sede delle principali cerimonie dell'Università. In essa si fondono due fondamentali tipologie del mondo classico: quella del tempio, per l'esterno, e quella della basilica, per l'interno.

One of the main ways that Alessandro Volta impacted society was by serving as a professor of experimental physics for 40 years at the prestigious University of Pavia.

In 1779 Alessandro Volta would be awarded a professorship in the field of experimental physics. At this post he was able to inspire and help students for nearly 40 years learn about electricity. He was known for his nonstop experimentations in the realm of what we call today electrical engineering.

While working as a professor Volta would study the concept of electrical capacitance. This was the study of how electricity inherently had two values, its difference and charge. Today, we call this electrical Volts named after Alessandro Volta.

After nearly 30 years of hard work as a professor Alessandro Volta would take notice of Napoleon Bonaparte. The two became close friends and in 1810 Napoleon would name Volta a count of the Empire of France.

Today the University of Pavia manages an entire museum of electrical artifacts in honor of Volta. This museum is one of 8 on the campus and is named The Museum of Electrical Technology.

As such one of the main ways that Alessandro Volta impacted society was by serving 40 years as a professor of the University of Pavia.


There you have it; an entire article on the 3 ways Alessandro Volta impacted society.

The studies of Volta remain a fascinating topic of research. Few historians have delved deep into his background and travels across Europe. Prospective graduate students will find substantial material for an entire thesis or dissertation.

Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. If you enjoyed this article consider subscribing to the free newsletter.

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