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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Profiles - Coulomb

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb (1736 – 1806) was a French physicist, best known for developing the Coulomb's law, that is, the definition of the electrostatic force of attraction and repulsion between charges. The unit of charge, the coulomb, was named after him.
On the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, he resigned his appointment as intendant "des eaux et fontaines" and retired to a small estate at countryside. He was recalled to Paris for a time in order to take part in the new determination of weights and measures, which had been decreed by the Revolutionary government. He was one of the first members of the French National Institute in 1802. His health was already very feeble and four years later he died in Paris.
Coulomb leaves a legacy as a pioneer in the field of geotechnical engineering. In the 1780's he invented the torsion balance which could measure electrostatic force.
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