Who was Charles Coulomb?


Quick Answer

Charles de Coulomb was a French physicist and scientist who contributed greatly to modern physics' understanding of certain forces of attraction and repulsion. He was born in 1736 and made several pioneering discoveries about the nature of forces and of friction. Coulomb is perhaps most famous for the law named after him, Coulomb's Law, which describes the electrostatic interaction between different charged particles using mathematical expressions such as inverse squares.

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Full Answer

As a young man, Charles de Coulomb studied mathematics in the Collège des Quatre-Nations in Paris. He did not immediately enter the field of mathematics and physics, however, instead opting to join the military. In military school, he studied engineering. For several years, he worked as a designer of buildings and helped determine the various properties of soil and terrain. In this time he traveled all over France. In fact, while he was overseeing construction of a fort, he began to have some of his first thoughts on friction. Eventually, he wrote a paper on his frictional findings.

After a falling out with the French government, Coulomb devoted his life primarily to physics. He worked in a number of different fields, but he focused mostly on electricity and magnetism. The discoveries he made have been vital to modern understandings of electric attractive forces.

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