Jaques Alexandre Cesar Charles, French experimental physicist, 1783.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Drawing in crayon by Simon Charles Miger of Jaques Alexandre Cesar Charles (1746-1823). Charles, also known as 'Charles aux Thuilleries' discovered Charles's Law, which described the relationship between the expansion of gas and its rise in temperature. On 1 December 1783 he made the first manned hydrogen balloon ascent in Paris in a balloon designed by himself and constructed by the brothers Noel and Jean Robert. The balloon, with Charles and Noel Robert on board set off from the gardens of the Thuilleries in Paris and landed two hours later at Nesle-la-Vallee over 43 km away. In 1795 Charles became member of the Academy of Sciences and Profesor of Experimental Physics at the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers. His inventions include a hydrometer, goniometer and a megascope.