# Is Coulomb's law the earliest mathematical formula describing electricity?

Is Coulomb's law the earliest formal equation of electricity?

Before Coulomb, many scientists and engineers conducted experiments of electricity.

• Cavendish discovered Ohm's law in 1781, but didn't publish. Ohm published in 1827. Coulomb's law was published in 1785. So basically Ohm's law and Coulomb's law came around the same time. – Ben Crowell Jul 20 '15 at 19:51

Sort of, if we interpret "electricity" and "formal equation" narrowly. Then the only other contender is Cavendish, who in 1775 did experiments with various capacitors, established that charge on them was proportional to voltage, and introduced the notion of capacitance as the proportionality constant, so $Q=CV$. Of course, he did not call voltage "voltage", but "degree of electrification", and he is the one who introduced that too. Unfortunately, Cavendish did not publish his results, they were only published by Lord Kelvin in 1879, so the "priority" goes to Coulomb in 1785.