Galvani, Luigi

BORN 9 Sep 1737, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna - DIED 11 Dec 1798, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
BIRTH NAME Galvani, Luigi Aloisio
GRAVE LOCATION Bologna, Emilia-Romagna: Chiesa Corpus Domini, Via Tagliapietre 19

Luigi Galvani was the son of Domenico Foschi, a goldsmith, and his fourth wife Barbara. He wanted to take religious vows but his parents persuaded him to enter the Faculty of the Arts of the University of Bologna around 1755. There he studied medicine and surgery for four years. In 1759 he graduated in medicine and philosophy. On 21 June 1761 he defended his thesis and in 1762 he became anatomist at the university. Also in 1762 he married Lucia Galeazzi, the daughter of his professor Gusmano Galeazzi. When Galeazzi died in 1775 he took his place as professor and lecturer.

In 1776 he was included in the Academy of Sciences and his working area was now theoretical anatomy. He was interested in medical electricity and started experimenting in this field, conducting experiments with static electricity by rubbing frog skin. He coined the term animal electricity to describe the force that activated the muscles of animals. This became widely known as galvanism and is now known as electrophysiology.

Alessando Volta checked Galvani's experiments, doubted his conclusions and afterwards invented an early version of the battery in 1800. Galvani kept quiet during this controversy. His wife's death in 1790 hit him hard and his health and spirit detoriated. He died in 1798 in Bologna.


Plaque for Luigi Galvani at the Corpus Domini Church, Bologna.
Picture by Androom (12 Feb 2017)


The grave of Luigi Galvani at the Chiesa Corpus Domini, Bologna.
Picture by Androom (12 Feb 2017)


Statue of Luigi Galvani in Bologna.
Picture by Androom (12 Feb 2017)


• Adler, Josef, Handbuch der Grabstätten, 2. Band, Die Grabstätte der Europäer, Deutsches Kunstverlag, München, 1986
Luigi Galvani - Wikipedia

Gambetta, Léon

Published: 18 Nov 2018
Last update: 25 Apr 2022