Robert Brown, Scottish botanist

Robert Brown, Scottish botanist

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Credit: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Robert Brown (1773-1858), Scottish botanist. Brown was the naturalist on the Flinders expedition to Australia, arriving in 1801 and returning in 1805 with thousands of specimens. He 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.

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