# Who discovered the electric potential?

Wikipedia says that the magnetic vector potential was discovered by Neumann in 1845, by Weber in 1846 and Lord Kelvin in 1847. It does not mention who discovered the electric scalar potential.

Hence my question - who discovered the electric scalar potential?

• "S.D. Poisson (1781—1840), in 1811, strongly inspired by Laplace, introduced a mathematical function to electrostatics whose gradient was numerically equal to the local electric intensity, or force per unit charge... George Green (1793—1841) of Nottingham, in 1828, invented the term ‘potential’ for the potential function and developed its mathematical properties much further", Roche, Applying the history of electricity in the classroom. Dec 13, 2021 at 11:27
• I translated Poisson's first Memoire into English, available on my website here: histomathsci.blogspot.com/2021/04/… Dec 13, 2021 at 13:38
• Second memoire translation is "forthcoming" (I haven't really put much time into it in the last few months...) Dec 13, 2021 at 13:39

In modern notation, let $$q$$ be the charge of a "molecule" of electricity, and $$\mathbf{r}_i$$ be the position vector of a given molecule, and suppose we want to find the force at a point $$\mathbf{r}$$ due to all molecules. What Poisson is saying is, given a function $$V$$ defined as: $$V(\mathbf{r})=\sum_i \frac{q}{|\mathbf{r_i}-\mathbf{r}|},$$ we can obtain the force vector $$\mathbf{F}$$ per unit charge at $$\mathbf{r}$$ by taking the gradient of $$V$$, i.e. we obtain the electric field $$\mathbf{E}(\mathbf{r})$$, $$\mathbf{E}(\mathbf{r}) = \nabla V.$$