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S A I N T S   &   B I R T H D A Y   P A G E

February 19, 1997

Saint Of The Day:

Alessandro Volta

Count Alessandro Volta (1745-1827) was an Italian physicist, known for his pioneering work in electricity. Volta was born in Como and educated in the public schools there.

In 1774 he became professor of physics at the Royal School in Como, and in the following year he devised the electrophorus, an instrument that produced charges of static electricity. In 1776-77 he applied himself to chemistry, studying atmospheric electricity and devising experiments such as the ignition of gases by an electric spark in a closed vessel. In 1778, he discovered and isolated methane gas. In 1779 he became professor of physics at the University of Pavia, a chair he occupied for 25 years.

In 1780, Volta's friend Luigi Galvani found that contact of two different metals with the muscle of a frog resulted in electric current. Volta began experimenting in 1794 with metals alone, and found that animal tissue was not needed to produce a current This finding caused much controversy between two schools of scientific thought, the animal-electricity adherents and the advocates of metallic electricity. But, by 1800 Volta was ready to prove his point.

In front of a large audience in Paris that included the Emperor Napoleon, he gave a demonstration of his so-called voltaic pile, a forerunner of the electric battery, which produced a steady stream of electricity. Napoleon named Volta a count and a senator in the Kingdom of Lombardy. The Emperor of Austria made him a director of the University of Padua in 1815. The electrical unit known as the volt was named in Volta's honor.

MODEL: Volta's burning pursuit of the elusive electron. Don't stop going after whatever it is you want, just because it's difficult.

Your Birthday Today:

February 19

Day of Exploration

Bold, Imaginative, Determined

Brash, Callous, Unrestrained

Inquisitive. If you were born on February 15, you are curious and resolved to explore the many wonders of your world. Ruled by the number 1 and the Sun, you are ambitious and like to be first at everything you do.

Where no one has gone before. You like to break new ground and put your personal spin on things. Though you have a yen for the mystical, you are practical enough to keep your feet planted on the ground. Barely. Your risk-loving side can find expression in a passion for travel, adventure and romance. Because you are impulsive and sometimes reckless, you should avoid self-destructive activities such as overeating, drinking and drugs.

Armored. You have matured early into someone who can take the stresses of everyday life. But watch out: you could be growing callous and insensitive due to years of fighting resistance and rejection. Try to hang on to your sensitivity by making it a part of your personal and work life. If you think you can separate the two, you are sadly mistaken. Spending time with children and others may help you develop your nurturing side.

Solo or team player? You would probably do best on your own, but can make a very good team player thanks to your ability to perceive people's strengths and weaknesses. You do have some leadership abilities, although you rarely volunteer for such duty. Others respect you and your talents and see you as steady and reliable. Many are surprised when you get the impulse to make a major change and act on it.

Some advice: You don't always have to jump in with both feet to experience something. Be patient. Observe. Sometimes it's best to let things come to you.

Also born on this day:
Copernicus (Polish astronomer) Andre Breton (French surrealist poet, writer) Eddie Arcaro (legendary jockey) Amy Tan (novelist) Smokey Robinson (singer, songwriter) Lee Marvin (actor) Brad Steiger (psychic researcher) Carson McCullers (novelist) John Frankenheimer (director) Margaux Hemingway (actress, model) Stan Kenton (jazz composer, arranger, pianist) Prince Andrew (British royalty)