. Life and Death

Michael Brian Schiffer

in Draw the Lightning Down

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780520238022
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939851 | DOI:
. Life and Death

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This chapter shows that electrobiologists adopted electrical technology for research on plants and animals. It specifically addresses the electrobiologists' activities and inventions. In adapting electrical technology for plant research, electrobiologists fashioned the first electrical machines that ran without human power. Experiments by Jean Jallabert, Pierre Bertholon, Martinus van Marum, Giuseppe Toaldo, Jan Ingen-Housz, Stephen Gray, William Harvey, Wilhelm von Barneveld, Benjamin Martin, Henry Cavendish, Isaac Newton, Luigi Galvani, and Eusebio Valli are summarized. The works of Walsh and Cavendish were not the first to implicate electricity in physiological processes. Volta's theory is known as the “contact” theory of electricity. Both Galvani and Volta had discovered important new effects, but neither took advantage of opportunities to compromise on theory. Galvanism became the favorite source of electricity for physiological investigations. Electrical experimenters of the eighteenth century were especially enthusiastic about the potential of their technology to alleviate human suffering.

Keywords: electrical technology; plant research; animal research; Jean Jallabert; Pierre Bertholon; Martinus van Marum; Giuseppe Toaldo; Jan Ingen-Housz; Stephen Gray; Luigi Galvani

Chapter.  10232 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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