Robert Brown, British botanist

Robert Brown, British botanist

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Credit: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Robert Brown (1773-1858), Scottish botanist. Brown, who travelled on an expedition to Australia, spent years working on plant taxonomy, establishing the classification of two major divisions of plants (gymnosperms and angiosperms). He also observed an essential part of living cells, which he named the nucleus. His famous 1827 observation of erratic motion by pollen grains in water (Brownian motion) was later explained as evidence for the existence of molecules. Brown became the first Keeper of the Botanical Department at the British Museum. This oil portrait, from circa 1845, is held at the Natural History Museum, London, UK.

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