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Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: In the first decade of the 20th century, nearly a hundred years of work on the phenomenon of Brownian motion culminated in theory and experiments that demonstrated irrefutably the discontinuous or molecular nature of matter. Colloidal suspensions and the phenomenon of Brownian motion thus became the key to confirmation of the 'new world-view' of statistical mechanics, the statistical basis of thermodynamics. View PDF. Save to Library.
Don't have an account? Jean Perrin's argument for the existence of molecules on the basis of his experiments with Brownian motion is examined. It is also argued, against antirealist interpretations of Perrin, that Perrin himself was applying a realist argument to the existence of unobservable molecules rather than an instrumentalist one to the truth of the observational consequences of the molecular theory. Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter. Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.
BROWNIAN MOVEMENT AND MOLECULAR REALITY. By M. JEAN PERRIN. (Professeur de Chimie Physique, Faculte des Sciences,. Universite de Paris.).
This pattern of motion typically consists of random fluctuations in a particle's position inside a fluid sub-domain, followed by a relocation to another sub-domain. Each relocation is followed by more fluctuations within the new closed volume. This pattern describes a fluid at thermal equilibrium , defined by a given temperature. Within such a fluid, there exists no preferential direction of flow as in transport phenomena. More specifically, the fluid's overall linear and angular momenta remain null over time.
Jean Perrin's argument for the existence of molecules on the basis of his experiments with Brownian motion is examined. It is also argued, against antirealist interpretations of Perrin, that Perrin himself was applying a realist argument to the existence of unobservable molecules rather than an instrumentalist one to the truth of the observational consequences of the molecular theory. The final two chapters of this book invoke case histories in physics: the discovery of the electron, credited to J. Thomson in , and Jean Perrin's argument for the existence of molecules in and on the basis of experiments involving Brownian motion.
They did succeed in determining mean kinetic energies of particles in Brownian motion, but the values for molecular magnitudes Perrin inferred from them simply presupposed that those energies match the mean kinetic energies of molecules in the surrounding fluid. This presupposition became increasingly suspect between This presupposition became increasingly suspect between and as distinctly different values for these magnitudes were obtained from alpha-particle emissions by Rutherford et al.
The story told has some rather interesting repercussions for the rationality of accepting the reality of explanatory posits. This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution. Rent this article via DeepDyve. The interested reader should look at the following: Post , Nye , Gardner , Krips , Nyhof , and de Regt