Electricity, nerves, batteries

A short history

Authored by: Clay M. Armstrong

Handbook of Ion Channels

Print publication date:  February  2015
Online publication date:  February  2015

Print ISBN: 9781466551404
eBook ISBN: 9781466551428
Adobe ISBN:


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Beginning with Galvani in the late eighteenth century, many findings and cogent speculations lead to an understanding of the action potential and the role of ion channels in signaling and the very life of a cell. Galvani (1791) was fascinated by lightning and static electricity, which, at the time, were the only known forms of electricity. He had seen that an accidental spark could stimulate a frog sciatic nerve, causing a muscle twitch and wanted also to know if another form of electricity, lightning, could stimulate a nerve-muscle preparation. From his description:

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