Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (18 February 1745 – 5 March 1827) was an Italian physicist known especially for the invention of the battery in 1800.
Volta was born in Como, Italy, and taught in the public schools there. In 1774 he became a physics professor at the Royal School in Como. A year later, he improved and popularized the electrophorus, a device that produces a static electric charge. His promotion of it was so extensive that he is often credited with its invention, even though a machine operating in the same principle was described in 1762 by Swedish professor Johan Wilcke.
In 1776-77 Volta studied the chemistry of gases. He discovered methane by collecting the gas from marshes. He devised experiments such as the ignition of methane by an electric spark in a closed vessel. Volta also studied what we now call electrical capacitance, developing separate means to study both electrical potential (V) and charge (Q), and discovering that for a given object they are proportional. This may be called Volta's Law of capacitance, and likely for this work the unit of electrical potential has been named the Volt.
In 1779 he became professor of experimental physics at the University of Pavia, a chair he occupied for almost 25 years. In 1794, Volta married Teresa Peregrini, with whom he raised three sons, Giovanni, Flaminio and Zanino.