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Metallic arc used by Luigi Galvani, Europe, 1775-1798

Luigi Galvani (1737-1798), an Italian physician and physicist, began his re-searches into electrophysiology in the late 1770s. He noticed that the muscles of a frog twitched and contracted when two different metals, shaped into arcs, were placed on the frog’s spinal cord and leg. He used similar arcs in his fa-mous frog experiments of 1786 where he claimed that the contraction of the muscle was due to ‘animal electricity’. Later disproved, this idea stated that the electrical current was produced by living tissues in the body.

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Glossary: metallic arc

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Glossary: electrophysiology

Branch of physiology that is concerned with the electric phenomena in living bodies.