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Book Launch: "The Shocking History of Electric Fishes: From Ancient Epochs to the Birth of Neurophysiology"

Monday, October 24th, 3.30 pm

Museo Galileo - Maria Luisa Righini Bonelli Hall

 

Speakers:

Marco Bresadola, Paolo Mazzarello and Nicholas J. Wade

 

The book, by Marco Piccolino and Stanley Finger, is published by Oxford University Press.  It examines a phenomenon with a long history: how did humans describe and interpret the shock produced by three kinds of fishes which exist in various parts of the world.  Electric catfishes are found in Africa, an “eel” in South America, and the torpedo rays swim in many seas. The discovery of the electrical nature of these fishes (by the Englishman John Walsh in the second half of 18th century) was the starting point of two fundamental advances in science: on the physiological side, the demonstration (by Luigi Galvani) that nerve conduction and muscle excitation are electrical phenomena and on the physical side, the invention of the electric battery by Alessandro Volta.

Marco Piccolino, who will participate in the launching, is Professor of General Physiology and Lecturer in Science History at the University of Ferrara.

Stanley Finger is Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.