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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index V > Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta Quotes

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Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
(18 Feb 1745 - 5 Mar 1827)

Italian physicist who invented the first battery, able to supply a sustained current of electricity.


Science Quotes by Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (9 quotes)

Engraving of Alessandro Volta, frontispiece of Popular Science biography in May 1892.
...each metal has a certain power, which is different from metal to metal, of setting the electric fluid in motion...
— Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
Le Opere, Vol. 1, 149. In Giuliano Pancaldi, Volta: Science and Culture in the Age of Enlightenment (2005), 190.
Science quotes on:  |  Current (21)  |  Difference (160)  |  Electricity (89)  |  Metal (25)  |  Voltage (2)

A Frenchman who arrives in London, will find Philosophy, like every Thing else, very much chang’d there. He had left the World a plenum, and he now finds it a vacuum. At Paris the Universe is seen, compos’d of Vortices of subtile Matter; but nothing like it is seen in London. In France, ‘tis the Pressure of the Moon that causes the Tides; but in England ‘tis the Sea that gravitates towards the Moon; so what when you think that the Moon should make it flood with us, those Gentlemen fancy it should be Ebb, which, very unluckily, cannot be prov’d. For to be able to do this, ‘tis necessary the Moon and the Tides should have been enquir’d into, at the very instant of the Creation.
— Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
Letter XIV. 'On DesCartes and Sir Isaac Newton', in Letters Concerning the English Nation (1733), 109-110.
Science quotes on:  |  Creation (163)  |  England (24)  |  Flood (21)  |  France (13)  |  Gentleman (8)  |  Gravitation (16)  |  London (7)  |  Matter (169)  |  Moon (92)  |  Necessary (37)  |  Paris (7)  |  Philosophy (158)  |  Pressure (20)  |  Proved (3)  |  Sea (76)  |  Subtile (2)  |  Tide (11)  |  Universe (338)  |  Vacuum (20)  |  Vortex (2)  |  World (341)

Heroes of physics, Argonauts of our time
Who leaped the mountains, who crossed the seas …
You have confirmed in uncomfortable places
What Newton knew without leaving his study.
— Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
Discours en Vers sur l'Homme (1734), Quatrieme discours: de la Moderation (1738). Quoted in and trans. J. L. Heilbron, Weighing Imponderables and Other Quantitative Science around 1800 (1993), 224.
Science quotes on:  |  Hero (13)  |  Knowledge (841)  |  Leap (11)  |  Leaving (10)  |  Mountain (82)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (213)  |  Physics (198)  |  Place (45)  |  Sea (76)  |  Study (221)  |  Time (228)  |  Uncomfortable (2)

If you have seen with your own eyes a mountain move forward in a plain; that is, a huge rock of this mountain’ breaking off and covering entire fields; a whole castle sunken into the earth; a disappeared river later coming out from its abyss; clear marks of a vast amount of water which have once flooded countries today inhabited, and a hundred vestiges of other revolutions, then one is much more prone to believe that great changes altered the face of the earth than would be a lady from Paris who knows only that the place where her house was built was once plowable land. However, a lady from Naples who has seen the buried ruins of Herculaneum, is even less vulnerable to the prejudice which makes us believe that everything has always been the way it is today.
— Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
Dictionnaire philosophique (1764), 'Changements arrivees dans Ie globe', in Oeuvres Complètes de Voltaire (1846-1853), Vol. 7, 13. Trans. Albert V. and Marguerite Carozzi.
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In fact, no opinion should be with fervour. No one holds with fervour that 7 x 8 = 56 because it can be shown to be the case. Fervour is only necessary in commending an opinion which is doubtful or demonstrably false.
— Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
As quoted in Max Perutz, Is Science Necessary? (1991), 196.
Science quotes on:  |  Commendation (3)  |  Demonstration (42)  |  Doubt (79)  |  Fact (397)  |  False (39)  |  Fervor (3)  |  Necessary (37)  |  Opinion (100)

In the beginning of the year 1800 the illustrious professor conceived the idea of forming a long column by piling up, in succession, a disc of copper, a disc of zinc, and a disc of wet cloth, with scrupulous attention to not changing this order. What could be expected beforehand from such a combination? Well, I do not hesitate to say, this apparently inert mass, this bizarre assembly, this pile of so many couples of unequal metals separated by a little liquid is, in the singularity of effect, the most marvellous instrument which men have yet invented, the telescope and the steam engine not excepted.
— Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
In François Arago, 'Bloge for Volta' (1831), Oeuvres Completes de François Arago (1854), Vol. 1, 219-20.
Science quotes on:  |  Assembly (5)  |  Attention (49)  |  Beginning (90)  |  Bizarre (3)  |  Changing (4)  |  Cloth (4)  |  Column (8)  |  Combination (46)  |  Conceived (3)  |  Copper (14)  |  Effect (93)  |  Engine (16)  |  Expected (4)  |  Forming (2)  |  Idea (295)  |  Illustrious (2)  |  Inert (3)  |  Instrument (49)  |  Invention (212)  |  Liquid (16)  |  Marvel (19)  |  Mass (34)  |  Metal (25)  |  Order (86)  |  Pile (2)  |  Professor (30)  |  Scrupulous (2)  |  Separated (4)  |  Singularity (2)  |  Steam (19)  |  Succession (34)  |  Telescope (53)  |  Unequal (2)  |  Wet (4)  |  Zinc (3)

The language of experiment is more authoritative than any reasoning: facts can destroy our ratiocination—not vice versa.
— Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
In Marcello Pera, The Ambiguous Frog: The Galvani-Volta Controversy on Animal Electricity (1992). Cited in Patrick F. Dunn, Measurement and Data Analysis for Engineering and Science (2010), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Authority (31)  |  Destroying (3)  |  Experiment (451)  |  Language (90)  |  Ratiocination (2)  |  Reasoning (64)  |  Vice Versa (5)

When I read some forty years ago that shells from Syria were found in the Alpes, I said, I admit, in a rather joking way, that these shells had apparently been carried by pilgrims on their return from Jerusalem. Mr. Buffon reprimanded me rather sharply in his Theory of the Earth, p. 28 I. I did not want to lose his friendship for peanuts; however, I am still of the same opinion because the impossibility of the formation of mountains by the sea is demonstrated to me.
— Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
Les Singularites de la Nature (1768), in Oeuvres Completes de Voltaire (1877-1885), Vol. 26, 408. Trans. Albert V. and Marguerite Carozzi.
Science quotes on:  |  Alps (4)  |  Comte Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (34)  |  Demonstration (42)  |  Earth (300)  |  Find (86)  |  Formation (45)  |  Friendship (3)  |  Impossibility (45)  |  Loss (55)  |  Mountain (82)  |  Opinion (100)  |  Pilgrim (2)  |  Reading (46)  |  Return (21)  |  Same (23)  |  Sea (76)  |  Sharply (3)  |  Shell (24)  |  Theory (435)

[Volta’s battery is] an alarm-bell to experimenters in every part of Europe.
— Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
In Humphry Davy, 'Historical Sketch of Electrical Discovery' (1810), in John Davy (ed.), The Collected Works of Sir Humphry Davy (1840), Vol. 8, 271.
Science quotes on:  |  Alarm (4)  |  Battery (5)  |  Bell (9)  |  Europe (22)  |  Experimenter (14)



Quotes by others about Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (1)

My Volta is always busy. What an industrious scholar he is! When he is not paying visits to museums or learned men, he devotes himself to experiments. He touches, investigates, reflects, takes notes on everything. I regret to say that everywhere, inside the coach as on any desk, I am faced with his handkerchief, which he uses to wipe indifferently his hands, nose and instruments.
As translated and quoted in Giuliano Pancaldi, Volta: Science and Culture in the Age of Enlightenment (2005), 154.
Science quotes on:  |  Busy (9)  |  Coach (3)  |  Desk (7)  |  Devotion (16)  |  Experiment (451)  |  Hand (56)  |  Handkerchief (2)  |  Indifferent (2)  |  Industrious (3)  |  Instrument (49)  |  Investigation (116)  |  Learned (11)  |  Museum (18)  |  Nose (8)  |  Note (12)  |  Reflection (34)  |  Regret (12)  |  Scholar (23)  |  Touch (25)  |  Visit (8)  |  Wipe (5)


See also:
  • 18 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Volta's birth.
  • Alessandro Volta - Illustration of Volta from Robert Millikan's textbook, A First Course in Physics (1906).
  • Alessandro Volta - Enlarged Details of Illustration Border from Robert Millikan's textbook.
  • Alessandro Volta - Monument in Pavia, Italy.
  • Sketch of Alessandro Volta - biography and image from Popular Science (May 1892).
  • Volta: Science and Culture in the Age of Enlightenment, by Giuliano Pancaldi. - book suggestion.
  • Booklist for Alessandro Volta.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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