Biography of Charles Augustine de Coulomb

Charles Augustin de Coulomb is a physicist, whose name is the law of interaction of electric projectiles.

Childhood and youth

Charles Augustin de Coulon was born into a well-to-do family in Angouleme, France. His father, Henri Coulomb, came from a well-known family of lawyers, and his mother, Catherine Bage, was a representative of a noble family.

In his childhood, Coulomb and his family moved to Paris, where he studied mathematics at the College of the Four Nations, and then entered the Meziere School of Military Engineers, which he graduated in 1761.


Coulomb began his career in engineering troops in the rank of lieutenant. Including he was engaged in building design and mechanics of loose bodies. He worked in many difficult locations, which went under the protectorate of France in the next 20 years.

During his work on the island of Martinique, the territory came under the control of the British in 1762, but, after some time, was returned to France under the terms of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1763. The pendant also worked on the construction of a new Fort Bourbon, the work on the construction of which was completed by June 1772. Practical skills in engineering, which he acquired while serving in the army and working on projects, were very useful for his further research in mechanics.

After returning to France, Coulomb began to study applied mechanics, and in 1773 presented his first work at the Paris Academy of Sciences. His calculations, with which he could successfully solve engineering problems, struck academicians and on July 6, 1774, Coulomb was appointed as a correspondent student by Bossu.

In 1777, while in the service in Cherbourg, Coulomb wrote and submitted to the Academy of Sciences his most famous work on magnetic compasses. His work won first place, and he received a cash award, and also drew attention to his early work on torsion scales.

In 1779, Coulomb, together with the distinguished military engineer Mark Rene de Monttalamber, worked on the construction of a wooden fort in Rochefort. During the control of the works conducted there, Coulomb continued his scientific research and wrote a great work on the theory of friction, using the Rochefort shipyard as his laboratory. His work on friction with the title “The theory of simple machines” in 1781 won the Grand Prix of the Academy of Sciences.

In 1781, Coulomb...was elected to the Academy of Sciences in the class of mechanics. He moved to Paris and became an engineer-consultant, and spent the rest of his life devoted to physics.

Between 1785 and 1791 he wrote seven key works-memoirs, which dealt with various aspects of electricity and magnetism.

He also formulated a theory known as the “Coulomb Law” with the following formulation: “The force module of the interaction of two point charges in a vacuum is directly proportional to the product of the modules of these charges and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.”

In 1784, Coulomb was appointed caretaker of the royal fountains, and in his post he was engaged in providing Paris with water.

After the Great French Revolution, many institutions of the country were reorganized, and, being dissatisfied with it, Coulon left the school of military engineers in 1791. In 1793, he moved to his house near the town of Blois and continued his scientific research. In December 1795, Coulomb again returned to Paris, where he was elected a member of the “Institute of France.” During the years 1802-1806, being the general inspector of state educational institutions, he was absorbed in the issues of education.

Main scientific works

In 1785, Culon’s three main scientific reports on electricity and magnetism were published: “The First Work on Electricity and Magnetism,” “Second Work on Electricity and Magnetism,” and “The Third Work on Electricity and Magnetism.”

In his famous work of 1789, entitled “The Seventh Work”, Coulomb clarifies the issue of electric charges and magnetic fields.

Personal life and heritage

The first son of Coulomb was born on February 26, 1790, and the second on July 30, 1797, from Louise Fran├žoise Leprue Desormo – a woman whom he loved, but did not marry until 1802.

Having problems with health throughout his life, the great physicist died of a fever in 1806.

On the Moon there is a crater named after Coulomb for his services to humanity.

Interesting Facts

His name is one of 72, which is placed on the Eiffel Tower.

The unit of the international system of units – the pendant – is named in his honor.

The theory of soil pressure and generalized wedge theory, which relate to the mechanics of solids and were proposed by Coulomb, are still included in the foundations of engineering practice.

His list of merits includes the invention of torsion balance.

Biography of Charles Augustine de Coulomb