Research on the microscopes of Robert Brown

Watch as the BBC fail to recreate the experiments

 Brown's microscope

(LEFT) Robert Brown's Microscope

This is the instrument with which Robert Brown studied Brownian Movement and which he used in his work on identifying the nucleus of the living cell. This instrument is preserved at the Linnean Society in London. It is made of brass and is mounted onto the lid of the box in which it can be stored. For many years it was believed that Brown could not have seen the nucleus with such a primitive instrument, and the BBC (see an extract in the video above) failed to repeat Brown's historical observations.


 (RIGHT) Orchid cells under Brown's microscope

This is the view Brown obtained in 1828, when he first recognised the cell nucleus. It shows about twenty orchid epidermal cells, and the nucleus can clearly be seen within each cell. Three stomata can also be clearly seen - these are the breathing pores through which a plant exchanges gases with the atmosphere. This is the award-winning image featured in the video (top).

 orchic epidermis

See also: The Reprise of Brown's experiments