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Happy Birthday, Alessandro Volta!

Donald McLaughlin

Alessandro_Volta.jpegIt is the birthday of pioneering scientist Alessandro Volta (1745-1827). Best known for having invented the first battery, he would have been 270 today. In honor of his scientific achievement, the unit of electric potential is called a "volt."

In addition to the battery, Volta is credited with having discovered that methane combined with air can be exploded with an electric spark, which is the basis of the internal combustion engine. We all know the benefit of that discovery! Volta’s contributions to science are long, and you can find out more here, here, and here.

A true scientist, Volta once wrote, "You must be ready to give up even the most attractive ideas when experiment shows them to be wrong." That’s advice that Darwinists would do well to heed.

Not so well known about Volta is that he was a man of strong Christian faith. Hailing from Como, Italy, Volta was taught in the Catholic faith. While as a young man he was encouraged by his Jesuit teachers to become a priest, Volta knew that his true calling was in science and that is what he pursued. He did not view a scientific career as being in conflict with his faith.

Indeed, he wrote in a letter to a friend:

I have not neglected those human means which confirm belief, and overthrow the doubts which at times arise. I studied attentively the grounds and basis of religion, the works of apologists and assailants, the reasons for and against, and I can say that the result of such study is to clothe religion with such a degree of probability, even for the merely natural reason, that every spirit unperverted by sin and passion, every naturally noble spirit must love and accept it.

It is noteworthy that Volta wrote this near the end of his career, after a lifetime of devoted scientific study and experimentation.

Volta stands as another example of a great scientist who saw no difficulty in upholding his Christian faith and pursuing a life of science. For more on that, please join in Bryn Mawr, PA, on March 20 and 21 for the Westminster Conference on Faith and Science, "Cosmos and Creator," featuring John Lennox, Michael Denton, John West, and other great scientific thinkers.

I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Image source: Dr. Manuel at de.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons.

Donald McLaughlin

Donald McLaughlin joined Discovery Institute in August 2013 as a Development Officer and Regional Representative in the upper Midwest and Northeast regions. Donald is currently on staff with Ratio Christi as Senior Director of Advancement as well as Chapter Director for Indiana University – South Bend.