I sing the body electric. Walt Whitman
Photovoltaicpoetry takes the world as a whole, from birds to bombs, batteries to books and art, all forms and especially poetry, once central to the energy and identiity of pre-literate societies is now mostly ignored.
Life first began around about 3,700 MYA in the Archean landscape, probably bright green, red, purple and orange as microbes colonised volcanic terrain and black sands. Life then was anaerobic bacteria, like Chromatium that swim towards light and their favourite food hydrogen sulphide. Like most bacteria in the wild they live in interdependent communities and varied populations, rapidly reproducing, grazing free organic compounds. Green Chlorobium the first to feed on sulphides is still with us. The oxygen rich atmosphere was a problem that spurred bacterial evolution to multiply and diversify so that they continue to dominate every place even the harshest. Rapidly reproducing, grazing free organic compounds could run out of food so some learn to make their own, using light or chemicals to produce energy, getting food from CO2, green and purple microbes invent the key process – photosynthesis. Plants and animals only came along ¾ of the way through evolution.
Photosynthesis allowed complex life to evolve. A solar or photovoltaic cell converts light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. ‘Photovoltaic’ derives from the Greek φῶς (phōs for light) and the unit of electro-motive force from the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta.
Luigi Galvini, an Italian anatomy professor was experimenting on corpses in London and in 1771 discovered electric current by accident. He hung a recently killed frog by a copper hook over an iron railing and the legs twitched when it touched the iron. He assumed the legs had what he called ‘Animal electricity’.
His nephew, Giovanni Aldini, toured Europe demonstrating this life force. In January 1803 he applied a 120-volt battery to the corpse of the executed murderer George Forster. When Aldini wired the mouth and ear, the jaw spasmed, the murderer’s fac