For the benefit of any thermoelectricians who haven't read Professor Anatychuk's papers explaining the thermoelectric significance of Alessandro Volta's experiments with the dissected frog's legs more than 200 years ago, I've put them online at:
I appreciate that in making these papers freely available on my own website I may be in breach of some copyright law somewhere, however I am convinced enough of the importance of Professor Anatychuk's assertions, and their relevance to the thermoelectric behavior of metal dental restorations, that I feel morally justified in taking this action, and I am also optimistic that Professor Anatychuk will have recognised this importance himself by now, to the extent that he will be unlikely to take any legal action against me for having done this.
The first of Professor Anatychuk's papers was published in 1994, shortly after I wrote a series of letters on the subject myself in late 1992, see:
Does anyone know what alerted Professor Anatychuk at such an advanced stage of his career to the thermoelectric aspect of Volta's experiments?
In Professor Anatychuk's second paper on the subject, published in 2004, he appears to argue that the thermoelectric potential generated by a single heterogeneous conductor is sufficient to excite convulsions in the frog's leg. I must admit that I remain sceptical that this is correct. Nevertheless I'm sure that thermoelectricians will be astute enough to recognise that if I am wrong, and Professor Anatychuk is right about this, then it would in fact strengthen my own argument that the thermoelectric properties of the metals, mixtures of metals, and dissimilar metals in contact with each other which are commonly placed in people'smouths by dentists should be investigated (and I remain resolutely certain that such investigations should really already have been carried out).
Dental amalgam is an inhomogeneous mixture of dissimilar metals in its own right. Not only that, but dentists sometimes screw metal alloy retaining pins into the root sockets of patients' teeth and encase the heads of the pins in metal amalgams.
However, it appears that in general the members of the dental profession are completely ignorant of thermoelectric phenomena, see:
Thermoelectricians therefore should not simply assume that the dental profession understands the thermoelectric behavior of the mixtures of metals that it uses in dentistry. It's up to thermoelectric scientists to explain what this behavior is.
Keith P Walsh