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Inventing Coulomb's Law: 'une balance electrique' or the material culture of French enlightened rationality.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History of Science and Ideas. (Avd för vetenskapshistoria)
2012 (Russian)In: Ontology of Artifacts: An Interraction between 'Natural' and 'Artifical' life-world components / [ed] Olga Stoliarova, Moscow: DELO , 2012, 1, 397-416 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Within the last decade historians of science have increasingly investigated the the material culture of science. This paper exemplarily introduces into current approaches by means of unfolding hitherto unrecognised layers of cultural meaning embodied in an important experimental apparatus of late 18th century enlightened natural philosophy. It concerns Charles Agustin Coulomb's electrostatic torsion balance. I will show that despite the fact that the experiment could not have worked precisiely the instrument - the balance electrique - became emblematic in French enlightened cultur because it acted like a mediating machine.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Moscow: DELO , 2012, 1. 397-416 p.
Keyword [en]
history of science, material culture, Coulomb, natural history, electrostatics, torsion balance, scientific instruments, rationality, enlightenment
National Category
Research subject
History of Sciences and Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-182657ISBN: 978-5-7749-0686-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-182657DiVA: diva2:560467
Available from: 2012-10-15 Created: 2012-10-15 Last updated: 2012-12-21Bibliographically approved

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Sibum, H. Otto
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