Accidental Scientific Discovery and Invention - Electric Current

About the accidental scientific discovery of electric current, history and information.


One sometimes finds what one is not looking for.

--Sir Alexander Fleming

Discovery: Electric current

Discoverer: Luigi Galvani, Italy

Year: 1781

How Discovered: Galvani, professor of anatomy at Bologna University, Italy, was working on the effect of electricity on the nerves and muscles of animals. One day, while Galvani was using a steel scalpel to dissect a frog, his assistant generated a spark from the electrostatic machine in the same room. The spark caused an electric circuit to be completed, whereupon "suddenly all the muscles of the frog's limbs were seen to be violently contracted just as though they had been seized with a violent cramp." The strange and unexpected twitching of the dead frog's muscles led Galvani to the discovery of current electricity. He referred to this phenomenon as "animal electricity," a concept corrected later by Alessandro Volta. Incidentally it is believed that it was not Galvani, but his wife, who first noticed the contraction of the frog's muscles.

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