Current Electricity

When was it thought that there were different kinds of electricity?

As you have seen, Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment showed that lightning and static electricity were the same. Since ancient times humans knew that certain fish, such as the electric eel, could shock a person. Was this “animal electricity” the same as static electricity? According to legend the Italian physician Luigi Galvani (1737-1798) was making frog-leg soup for his sick wife. Whenever a nearby static electricity machine created a spark the legs jerked. After completing several experiments, in a 1791 paper Galvani reported that when one metal touched the muscle of a frog’s leg while another metal touched the nerve, the muscle contracted. Thus Galvani helped to show that there was a connection between static electricity and electric effects in animals.


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