# 2.1: Brownian Motion: Evidence for Atoms

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## Under construction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownian_motion

Brownian motion is the random motion of particles suspended in a fluid (a liquid or a gas) resulting from their collision with the fast-moving atoms or molecules in the gas or liquid.

This transport phenomenon is named after the botanist Robert Brown. In 1827, while looking through a microscope at particles trapped in cavities inside pollen grains in water, he noted that the particles moved through the water; but he was not able to determine the mechanisms that caused this motion. Atoms and molecules had long been theorized as the constituents of matter, and Albert Einstein published a paper in 1905 that explained in precise detail how the motion that Brown had observed was a result of the pollen being moved by individual water molecules. This explanation of Brownian motion served as convincing evidence that atoms and molecules exist, and was further verified experimentally by Jean Perrin in 1908. Perrin was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1926 "for his work on the discontinuous structure of matter". The direction of the force of atomic bombardment is constantly changing, and at different times the particle is hit more on one side than another, leading to the seemingly random nature of the motion.

This is a simulation of the Brownian motion of a big particle (dust particle) that collides with a large set of smaller particles (molecules of a gas) which move with different velocities in different random directions. Image used with permisison (CC -BY-Sa 2.5; Lookang Author of computer model: Francisco Esquembre, Fu-Kwun and lookang)

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2.1: Brownian Motion: Evidence for Atoms is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.