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Volta’s battery: electrochemistry, but not as we know it

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Electrochemistry began with Volta’s invention of the battery, announced in 1800. It was very easy to make Voltaic batteries, but there was a great deal of controversy about how they worked. The theoretical difficulties are understandable, especially considering that no modern concepts of ions and electrons existed for many decades after Volta’s work. Surprisingly, there are also puzzling aspects of the operation of Voltaic cells even when we apply modern concepts. These points will be illustrated by reference to the historical sources and reproductions of past experiments.

This talk is part of the ChemSoc - Cambridge Chemistry Society series.

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