Google is celebrating the 270th birthday of Italian physicist Alessandro Volta with a Google doodle. Volta’s big break came in 1799 when he was experimenting with two different metals – zinc and silver. He put down a zinc disc, then a silver disc, then on top of that a disc of damp cardboard. He repeated the pattern of discs until the pile was large enough to give Volta an electric shock. It was the “first device that was able to produce a reasonably consistent source of electricity.”
Volta was born (and died) in Como, Italy – the city that has become a popular tourist destination and second home for celebrities including Oscar-winning actor/director/producer George Clooney (Argo, Syriana). Clooney is also keen on experimenting with electricity. He was one of the first five owners of a Tesla Roadster.