Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (Feb. 18, 1745- March 5, 1827) was an Italian physicist who invented the chemical battery in 1800 (also called the voltaic pile). This invention provided the first generator of continuous electrical current.
Volta also discovered (and isolated) the highly flammable methane gas, CH4 (in 1778). He had earlier invented the electrophorus, a device that generated static electricty charges (in 1775).
Volta was born in Como, Italy, and was a professor of physics at the Royal School of Como (beginning in 1774) and then the University of Pavia (starting in 1779). In 1801, Volta demonstrated his new battery in Paris to Napoleon, who later honored him by making Volta both a count and a senator for the kingdom of Lombardy.
The volt, a unit of electrical potential, was named for Volta in 1881.