What Brown saw and you can too

Philip Pearle, Brian Collett, Kenneth Bart, David Bilderback, Dara Newman, Scott Samuels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A discussion of Robert Brown's original observations of particles ejected by pollen of the plant Clarkia pulchella undergoing what is now called Brownian motion is given. We consider the nature of those particles and how he misinterpreted the Airy disk of the smallest particles to be universal organic building blocks. Relevant qualitative and quantitative investigations with a modern microscope and with a "homemade" single lens microscope similar to Brown's are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1278-1289
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2010


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