A tribute to Jean Perrin
University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Nineteenth century's physics was primarily a molecular physics in the style of Laplace. Maxwell had been guided by Laplace’s breathtaking nebular hypothesis and its consequences for Saturn. Somewhat later Van der Waals drew upon his analysis of capillarity. The many textbooks of Biot perpetuated the molecularism involved in all this. Jean Perrin, then, proposed a charmingly simple proof for the well-foundedness of the molecular theory (1908).
© European Physical Society, EDP Sciences, 2013