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Precision-accuracy-sensitivity: Charles Augustin Coulomb's work in electrostatics

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1 Author(s)
Heering, P. ; Inst. fur Phys. und Chem. und ihre Didaktik, Univ. Flensburg, Flensburg, Germany

The French military engineer Charles Augustin Coulomb started in 1785 with the presentation of a series of memoirs on electricity and magnetism. Already in the first memoir, Coulomb described the central instrument that is nowadays inseparably connected to his name: the torsion balance. Moreover, he also described in this memoir the experimental demonstration of (the central part of) the electrostatic law that has been named after him. Coulomb's experiments to demonstrate the inverse square relation in case of electrostatic repulsion are certainly one of the classical examples in experimental science. This is absolutely justified as Coulomb's publication marks a significant step in the development of electrostatics if not physics, as the torsion balance is the first instrument that can be labeled electrometer in retrospect.

Published in:

Electrets (ISE), 2011 14th International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

28-31 Aug. 2011