Charles Augustin de Coulomb was a French physicist known for discoveries such as Coulomb’s Law, electrostatic force of attraction, and repulsion. In 1908 the SI unit of electric charge – “coulomb,” was named in his honor. Learn more
Coulomb’s early life
Charles Augustin de Coulomb was born on 14 June 1736 in Angoumois, a village in France. Her father was Henry Coulomb, and Catherine Bajet was her mother.
Charles Coulomb’s early education began in Paris, where his father lived. Charles Coulomb studied philosophy, language, and literature at College Mazarin in Paris with subjects in mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, and botany. In 1761 he graduated from the Royal Engineering School of Mezieres.
After graduation, he worked in various fields, including engineering, structural, fortifications, soil mechanics, and other engineering places.
In 1764, he was sent to the West Indies, where he was tasked to build Fort Bourbon. During this time, he faced failures regarding his health, affecting his life. After completing the work of Fort Bourbon, he returned to France in 1772 and started researching applied mechanics.
And in 1773, he presented his work at the Academie des Sciences in Paris. Many people appreciated his work. In 1776 he came to Paris and began his research work in solitude by building a small estate. He invented a torsion balance to measure the magnitude of the force, and using it; he found the attraction or repulsion forces between small charged spheres.
In 1779 Charles Coulomb was sent to Rochefort, where he was appointed to build a fort. During his period at Rochefort, Coulomb continued to research his experiments and used the shipyard at Rochefort as a laboratory for his experiments.
Returning to France, he discovered the relation of Forces between the effect of electric charges and the square of its distance. He then also identified a similar relationship between the magnetic pole.
His discoveries in the modern era are known as Coulomb’s Law. Coulomb’s law has great importance in physics.
He was called back to Paris for a time to participate in the new determination of weights and measures, which was implemented by the revolutionary government of the time. He became one of the French National Institute’s first members and was appointed as an inspector of public instruction in 1802.
Coulomb has left a legacy as a pioneer in the field of geotechnical engineering for his contribution to wall design. His name is one of the 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower.
He died in Paris due to poor health. However, the world will never forget him for his contribution to science.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Coulomb, Charles Augustin”. Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Coulomb, C. A. (1784). Recherches théoriques et expérimentales sur la force de torsion: & sur l’élasticité des fils de métal: application de cette théorie à l’emploi des métaux dans les arts & dans différentes expériences de physique: construction de différentes balances de torsion, pour mesurer les plus petits degrés de force: observations sur les loix de l’élasticité & de la coherence.
- “Coulomb.” Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.
- Académie royale des sciences Paris. (2010, September 10). Histoire de l’Academie royale des sciences (10 Sep 2010 ed.). De l’imprimerie royale, 1787. pages 229-269
- Coulomb (1785a) “Premier mémoire sur l’électricité et le magnétisme,” Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, pages 569-577.
- Coulomb (1785b) “Second mémoire sur l’électricité et le magnétisme,” Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, pages 578-611.
- Coulomb (1785c) “Troisième mémoire sur l’électricité et le magnétisme,” Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, pages 612-638.
- Coulomb (1786) “Quatrième mémoire sur l’électricité,” Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, pages 67-77.
- Coulomb (1787) “Cinquième mémoire sur l’électricité,” Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, pages 421-467.
- Coulomb (1788) “Sixième mémoire sur l’électricité,” Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, pages 617-705.
- Coulomb (1789) “Septième mémoire sur l’électricité et le magnétisme,” Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, pages 455-505.