CHAPTER 2
GALVANI'S EXPERIMENTS WITH FROGS

It is a curious fact that a group of experiments on frog legs has yielded supremely important discoveries for both physics and physiology. Out of them came electric batteries and X-ray machines and radio sets, and also brain waves, the laws of electricity and scientific diagnoses of human heart disease. Luigi Galvani and his gentle wife, Lucia, performed these revolutionary experiments in Italy during the 1780s, and here are two of them.


A Frog and Some Lightning

Experiment 1: The Galvanis took a dissected frog outdoors on an upstairs porch, attached a lightning rod to its head end, stretched another wire from its foot to the water in a well, and then sat back to wait for a storm to blow up (Fig. 2). Soon the summer sky darkened and, in Galvani's words,

as the lightning broke out, at the same moment all the muscles fell into violent and multiple contractions, so

-23-

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Nerves and Muscles
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 5
  • Introduction 9
  • Contents 13
  • Chapter 1 - Waves of the Heart 17
  • Chapter 2 - Galvani's Experiments With Frogs 23
  • Chapter 3 - The Membrane Theory 38
  • Chapter 4 - Basis of Bioelectricity 52
  • Chapter 6 - Electrical Output Of the Brain 103
  • Chapter 7 - Physics, Biology, and Time 130
  • Index 153
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