Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist and pioneer in the study of electricity, is credited with the invention of the first battery, the voltaic pile. Volts, the units used to measure electric currents, are named after him. Volta also discovered methane gas and made significant advancements in electrostatics, meteorology and pneumatics.
Volta's voltaic pile was made of discs of copper and zinc separated by paper soaked in brine or sulfuric acid. Attached to the top and bottom of the pile were two copper wires, which made electricity flow. Because of his advancements, Volta was made a count by the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.