How We Got Atoms From Brownian Motion

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In 1827, botanist Robert Brown observed an odd jittery motion of particles as he watched grains of pollen floating in water under his microscope. He saw the random motion also with inorganic — which is to say definitely Not Alive — particles as well. But it was Einstein nearly 80 years later who figured out how to connect this observable motion to atoms. Einstein realized Brown’s particles were being constantly jostled by atomic collisions, and, with a little work, we could use those moving particles to determine Avogadro’s number. Steve Mould walks you through the whole story in this video. (Video and image credit: S. Mould)

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