Mary Shelley was inspired to pen her novel Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus by a scientific controversy begun by one of the earliest electrochemists, Luigi Galvani, who was a Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at the University of Bologna in the late 18th Century.  While dissecting a frog, Galvani was surprised to observe that when he touched both a nerve and a leg muscle with a conducting tool, such as scissors or a scalpel, the leg muscle twitched!  He conducted a series of additional experiments and in 1791, he published a 70-page treatise describing his studies and noting his conclusion that electricity is a vital, innate force of life, which he called “animal electricity”.

Galvani was ultimately shown to be wrong – he had not discovered a new form of electricity.  However, he was a well-respected scientist, and his name lives on in terms like “biological galvanism”, which is the stimulation of muscles with electric current, and “galvanic” which describes an electrochemical cell that produces electricity via a spontaneous reaction.