1799 and the current was. Two hundred years since Volta’s battery


‘This is the basic foundation of all inventions’. Thus Albert Einstein defined the invention of the battery, an event whose bi-centenary falls in 1999. In illustrating the life and works of the great scientist from Como, the exhibition reproduces for the visitor the various stages of the event, starting with Volta’s first observations and considerations on the nature of electricity to the making of the battery, before going on to highlight the tremendous consequences the discovery has had on technological progress and, more in general, on our everyday lives. In a very lively way, with reference being made to the documents of the time, the enthralling tale is told of Volta and Galvani’s contrasting ideas on the nature of electricity: due to contact between different metals or of animal origin? The exhibition is split into five sections: The life of Volta, the experiences and ideas about electricity before Volta, the studies that conducted the Como scientist from his first experiments to the actual building of a battery and to his numerous other, though lesser-known inventions; the controversy with Galvani; Volta’s legacy – the great technological achievements that gradually ‘electrified’ the world. The exhibition is enriched by a number of ‘interactive stations’ where visitors can try their hand with ‘electrical machines’, with Volta’s famous ‘gun’, with various electrical effects, and a miniature power plant. Finally, one aspect that has been underscored in particular is the curiosity, the passion and the amazement that never left Volta throughout his whole life as a researcher. But, as Giovanni Polvani wrote at the end of his monography dedicated to the Como scientist, ‘…the search for natural laws did not tie his mind to matter, but rather made it easier for him to hear the voice of the supreme Being, unchangeable, necessary, powerfully calling him’. The exhibition is part of the Volta celebrations promoted by the Committee set up by the Lombardy Region and by Telecom Italia.’


22 Agosto 1999 - 28 Agosto 1999


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions