Thursday 19 August 2010


Jean Perrin

"In the first years of the 20th century the theory of Brownian motion and experiments on electronic charge, radioactivity, and black-body radiation made the atomic nature of matter an increasingly persuasive hypothesis. Jean Perrin's experiments on Brownian motion and particle diffusion provided a confirmation of Einstein's theory, which depended on the molecular-kinetic view of matter. Perrin gathered the available information into his 1913 book Les Atomes. This masterpiece eliminated all objection to atomicity. Its message reverberates to the core of modern chemistry, physics, and biology. This work brings together sixteen different ways of determining Avogadro's number. There is no comparable book in science. Perrin received the 1926 Nobel prize in physics."

Blurb from OxBow Press edition

The following image is the famous set of data included in Perrins paper of 1909 and his book.