Google’s homepage Wednesday celebrates the 270th anniversary of Alessandro Volta’s birth with an animated illustration honoring the father of the first electrical battery.
Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist born in 1745, spent years investigating electricity before he created the precursor to what now powers our smart phones, our laptops, our tablets, and (in some cases) our cars, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
The Google Doodle shows an old-fashioned battery – or what Volta called a “voltaic pile” charging, and lighting up the Google logo in the process. In the upper-left and upper-right corners of the Doodle are the alchemical symbols for zinc and copper. Volta’s battery was constructed of zinc and copper electrodes, with sulfuric acid between them. When the terminals were connected, the zinc and the acid chemically reacted with one another and caused an electric current to flow. On either side of the battery, the Doodle shows the formulas for zinc and sulfuric acid.
The doogle was designed by Mark Holmes, who didn’t want to just settle on using Volta’s portrait for the Doodle, especially since most of the world wouldn’t recognize him. "I wanted instead to represent his accomplishment," Holmes wrote. "Digging into visual research I looked first for images of his inventions, then wider to other scientific equipment of the time. WIth an interest in graphic design I also looked to designs of the period and was especially inspired by the intricate and ornate details of some early Victorian posters for their dimensionality and dynamic layout."