Notes on demonstrating Brownian motion:
The pros and cons of the Whitley Bay smoke cell compared with observing very dilute milk

by David Walker, UK

Update November 2013: HD 1080P extended video clip of Brownian motion in dilute milk available to download. See below.

Comments to the author David Walker are welcomed.

 References and resources

1) Google Book Search - early mentions of using gamboge suspended in liquids to study Brownian motion in 'The Treasures of Botany', 1866 and 'The Popular Science Monthly' 1915.

2) Google Book Search - early mention of using Indian ink to demonstrate Brownian motion in 'The Principles of Bacteriology a Practical Manual for Students and Physicians', by A C Abbott, 1915. (To distinguish this motion from that of live bacteria.)

3) Google Book Search - early observation that fat globules in milk undergo Brownian motion, 'Popular Science' magazine, Dec. 1876. vol. 10, no. 9. p139.

4) 'Brownian movement in Clarkia pollen: a reprise of the first observations' by Brian J. Ford. The Microscope, 1992, 40 (4), pp. 235-241. This fascinating paper describes how Robert Brown's observations were repeated using one of Brown's original microscopes. This demonstration was carried out to dispel the suggestion that Brown's microscopes were not good enough to show the motion. The paper also discusses many aspects of Brown's life and work. This paper is on Brian Ford's web site.

5) Whitley Bay, Wikipedia entry with photo of lighthouse.

6) 'The great Brownian motion swindle. Marcus L Rowland uncovers a case of mistaken identity.', New Scientist, Forum, 13 April, 1991, p. 49.

7) 'Browned off' - readers' letters (nos. 1, 3 and 5 in link list) in later issues of New Scientist in response to above article.

8) 'Brown's Brownian motion revisited' Science News, August 15, 1992. A recent controversy between scientists as to whether Brown observed the motion.

 

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