Why did Galvani use frogs as guinea pigs?

Bologna - the former center of the Etruscans - was rightly considered a student's paradise. The university here was founded in the distant XI century, and the faculty of law was especially popular, where young people rushed not only from Italy, but also from all over Europe. This is why Louis’s parents really wanted their son to become famous throughout Italy for a lawyer or notary. But Galvani Junior was interested in a completely different question: why does the intensity of the frog singing depend? Why does the choir “interrupt” the bell bells on one evening, and the warty on the other, disperse in their “holes” and sit quietly, like mice?

No, Louis, of course, did not even think to contradict his parents, he nevertheless entered the university. But not on the faculty of law. He was attracted to theology. Well, the family did not object: a person who prioritizes the Bible rarely turns into the path of sin and dishonor. But even the closest people did not immediately catch a change in Luigi's moods - he was suddenly swayed, like a pendulum, towards the natural sciences and medicine.

Partly in this was blamed a brilliant teacher of the Department of Practical Anatomy of the University, Professor Galeazzi. A scholarly husband was so fascinating about the processes taking place in the human body, that many of his students were infected with the idea “No, just see how we are all arranged inside.” And if we add two more factors to this: first, the professor was not beech and was not brought in, but loved his students and was available, and, second, he willingly invited curious youth to his home when he had to leave for the weekend.

Of course, Galeazzi had his own reason: he had several daughters growing up. Got the bait and Luigi. He liked one of the cute girls, Lucia, young people more and more often began to glance toward each other. A pundit tactfully nudged a promising student into the arms of his daughter. And his fatherly: “Study, son, and you will replace me in the department in due time” and at all made the young man think about it.

However, such nudges were unnecessary. Young people loved each other so deeply that they soon announced their engagement to their parents. This happens in life infrequently: having married in early youth, the scientist carried this great feeling to the woman he loved until the very last breath. His wife was a muse for him and was distinguished not only by her beauty, but also by a rare scrupulousness and integrity. We can say that for the sake of her, in order to surprise her spouse, Galvani did not spare either himself or his assistants, practically without sticking his nose out of the laboratory.

In 25 years, Galvani defended his thesis. As a “guinea pig”, he took ... not frogs, but his own Lucia, which some time before was in an interesting position. He spent a lot of time with his pregnant wife, trying to understand how the process of formation of human bones occurs. His scientific work was called "The nature of the processes of formation of human bones." What is just one of Luigi's conjectures that a pregnant woman’s teeth are being destroyed due to the fact that she donates some substance to the construction of the bones of the fetus? What is this substance, Luigi could only guess: Calcium was first obtained by Devi in ​​1808 using electrolysis. That is, after more than half a century.

After defending the thesis, the father-in-law took his son-in-law to his department, now no one dares to say that this is “nepotism”. Under his leadership, Louis decided to somewhat change the direction of his research, fascinated by "living magnetism." But the death of the father-in-law in 1775 and the "struggle" for the department (not all colleagues wanted to see him in this post), led to the fact that for some time he put aside the study of the problem of living electricity.

Time heals any wounds. The sharpness of the loss of Professor Galeazzi has become dulled. In these difficult days, Louis tried more often to “pull out” his wife for a walk, hoping that nature would help his wife to get rid of her experiences. At one time, he suddenly became a witness to the frog's opera of incredible beauty. And this happened at a time when clouds were gathering overhead, thunder rumbled somewhere, the air clearly smelled of thunder.

This combination of "thunderstorm + frog" and made Luigi think. He tried to carry out his first experiments with dead frogs in a thunderstorm. But once, in vain waiting for this phenomenon of nature, he accidentally pressed the electrodes stuck into the frog's spinal cord, to the iron grid on which it lay. Appeared the same cuts as during the experiments conducted in a thunderstorm.

By the way, at that time, Lucia accidentally peeked into the laboratory, who cried: “Louis, your legs are twitching!” husband. " Soon, the scientist without the help of his wife discovered that the muscles contract and in the absence of an external power source, by simply imposing on them two different metals, connected by a conductor.

How long do you think Galvani “tormented” frogs? Now it seems incredible, but he began his experiments in 1780, and summed up the final results in 1791. Almost 11 years of long experience - this is the price of discovery!

And here's another thing I want to talk about in the end, literally in two words. About the feat that the scientist accomplished outside of science. In 1797, when Napoleon conquered Northern Italy, where Bologna was a member, he refused, as a university professor, to take the oath of allegiance to Bonaparte, and was removed from the department, which he led for many years. By that time, the Galvani family lived practically in poverty, and how much courage it took to lose the last source of livelihood. But the honor of the motherland for Luigi was more expensive!

These shocks, as well as the inability to fully eat, very soon brought Galvani to his grave. He was gone December 4, 1798. And his experiments remained in any textbook on physics. And today every schoolboy knows about his discoveries ...

Watch the video: HACKING THE BRAIN. Cambridge Science Festival Preview with Ginny Smith (December 2019).


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