The Birthplace of Electrochemistry

Volta Medal

Modern electrochemistry can be traced back over 200 years to the 18th century and the work of Alessandro Volta and his experiments with the electric pile.

The following is an article from the latest issue of Interface by ECS Executive Director, Roque J. Calvo.

The 17th International Meeting on Lithium Batteries (IMLB)* was held this past June in the beautiful and historic setting at Villa Erba along the shores of Lake Como, Italy. This international meeting has become an exceptional gathering where the world’s top battery research scientists present their work on electrochemical conversion and storage. The application of their research now powers our essential wireless devices so that they run longer, cleaner, and more efficiently. But the splendor of the location was not the only reason that IMLB was so exceptional this year; the meeting venue reconnected attendees to their roots. Lake Como is the birthplace of Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the first battery, which he called the electric pile, and the place where the science of electrochemistry began.

Modern electrochemistry can be traced back over 200 years to the 18th century and the work of Alessandro Volta and his experiments with the electric pile. While Volta hailed from Lake Como and was a trained physicist, many consider him to be the first great electrochemist. As a result of his vast scientific influence, the ECS Europe Section named an award after him and every two years they recognize a scientist with the prestigious Volta Medal (see photo). The medal depicts his electric pile, the first notable electrochemical storage device.

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  1. Raji Heyrovska

    September 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    The above article is very interesting! Yes, Volta impressed emperor Napoleon with his experiments on electricity! Two centuries after Volta, the present author has established “the absolute potential of the SHE (standard hydrogen electrode)” just by plotting the standard aqueous redox potentials versus the gaseous ionization potentials. This was a barrierless publication: R. Heyrovska, Electrochemical and Solid-State Letters 12 (issue 10) (2009) F29-F30 and ECS Trans., 25, 159-163, 2010, where the absolute standard potentials of all many redox couples of the elements of the Periodic Table have been tabulated. For more publications, see:

  2. Zohaib Ali Siddiqui

    November 30, 2014 at 3:51 pm


    I am currently working in my masters project on electrodeposition of Nickel and Cobalt alloy.
    I know faradays law can calculate the mass and the thickness for a single metal. But I am willing to know that how could I calculate mass and thickness of Nickel Cobalt alloy ?
    Please let me know, I will be grateful.


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