Galvani, Luigi lo͞oē´jē gälvä´nē [key], 1737–98, Italian physician. He was professor of anatomy from 1775 at the Univ. of Bologna and was noted as a surgeon and for research in comparative anatomy. During experiments on muscle and nerve preparations of frogs, he noticed the contraction of a frog's leg touched with charged metal. He devised an arc of two metals with which contractions could be induced and in 1791 published his results, attributing the source of electricity to the animal tissue. The explanation was disputed by Volta, who correctly believed that the electricity originated in the metallic arc. The controversy focused attention on electricity in animals and stimulated research in electrotherapy and on electric currents. Many terms in electricity are derived from Galvani's name.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Medicine: Biographies