Brown, Robert

Brown, Robert
born Dec. 21, 1773, Montrose, Angus, Scot.
died June 10, 1858, London, Eng.

Scottish botanist.

The son of a clergyman, he studied medicine in Aberdeen and Edinburgh before entering the British army as an ensign and assistant surgeon (1795). He obtained the post of naturalist aboard a ship bound to survey the coasts of Australia (1801), and on the journey he gathered some 3,900 plant species. He published some of the results of his trip in 1810 in his classic Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae..., laying the foundations of Australian botany and refining prevailing plant classification systems. In 1827 he transferred Joseph Banks's botanical collection to the British Museum and became keeper of the museum's newly formed botanical department. The following year he published his observation of the phenomenon that came to be called Brownian motion. In 1831 he noted the existence in plant cells of what he called the nucleus. He was the first to recognize the distinction between gymnosperms and angiosperms (flowering plants).

* * *

▪ Scottish botanist
born Dec. 21, 1773, Montrose, Angus, Scot.
died June 10, 1858, London, Eng.
 Scottish botanist best known for his description of the natural continuous motion of minute particles in solution, which came to be called Brownian movement (Brownian motion). In addition, he recognized the fundamental distinction between the conifers and their allies (gymnosperms) and the flowering plants (angiosperms), recognized and named the nucleus as a constant constituent of living cells in most plants, and improved the natural classification of plants by establishing and defining new families and genera. He also contributed substantially to knowledge of plant morphology, embryology, and geography, in particular by his original work on the flora of Australia.

      Brown was the son of a Scottish Episcopalian clergyman. He studied medicine at the universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh and spent five years in the British army serving in Ireland as an ensign and assistant surgeon (1795–1800). A visit to London in 1798 brought Brown to the notice of Sir Joseph Banks (Banks, Sir Joseph, Baronet), president of the Royal Society. Banks recommended Brown to the Admiralty for the post of naturalist aboard a ship (the Investigator) for a surveying voyage along the northern and southern coasts of Australia under the command of Matthew Flinders.

      Brown sailed with the expedition in July 1801. The Investigator reached King George's Sound, Western Australia, an area of great floral richness and diversity, in December 1801. Until June 1803, and while the ship circumnavigated Australia, Brown made extensive plant collections. Returning to England in October 1805, Brown devoted his time to classifying the approximately 3,900 species he had gathered, almost all of which were new to science. The results of his Australian trip were partially published in 1810 as his Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae . . . , a classic of systematic botany and Brown's major work, in which he laid the foundations for Australian botany while refining the prevailing systems of plant classification. Disappointed by its small sale, however, he published only one volume. Brown's close observation of minute but significant details was also shown in his publication on Proteaceae, in which he demonstrated how the study of pollen-grain characters could assist in the classification of plants into new genera. In 1810 Banks appointed Brown as his librarian and in 1820 bequeathed him a life interest in his extensive botanical collection and library. Brown transferred them to the British Museum in 1827, when he became keeper of its newly formed botanical department.

      In 1828 he published a pamphlet, A Brief Account of Microscopical Observations . . . , in which he recorded that, after having noticed moving particles suspended in the fluid within living pollen grains of Clarkia pulchella, he examined both living and dead pollen grains of many other plants and observed a similar motion in the particles of all fresh pollen. Brown's experiments with organic and inorganic substances, reduced to a fine powder and suspended in water, then revealed such motion to be a general property of matter in that state. This phenomenon has long been known as Brownian motion (q.v.). In 1831, while dealing with the fertilization of Orchidaceae and Asclepiadaceae, he noted the existence of a structure within the cells of orchids as well as many other plants that he termed the “nucleus” of the cell. These observations testify to the range and depth of his pioneering microscopical work and his ability to draw far-reaching conclusions from isolated data or selected structures. Brown was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1810.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Brown,Robert — Brown, Robert. 1773 1858. Scottish botanist known for his investigation of the sexual behavior of plants. His discovery of the irregular movement of pollen grains led to the concept known as Brownian movement. * * * …   Universalium

  • Brown , Robert — (1773–1858) British botanist Brown, a clergyman s son from Montrose, Scotland, studied medicine at Edinburgh University. He joined the Fifeshire Regiment of Fencibles in 1795 and served five years in Ireland as a medical officer. During a visit… …   Scientists

  • Brown, Robert Hanbury — ▪ 2003       British astronomer (b. Aug. 31, 1916, Aravankadu, India d. Jan. 16, 2002, Andover, Hampshire, Eng.), overcame scientific hurdles and the skepticism of his colleagues in the 1950s to invent the optical intensity spectrometer, a… …   Universalium

  • BROWN, Robert (1773-1858) — botanist was born at Montrose, Scotland, on 21 December 1773, the second son of the Rev. James Brown, Episcopalian minister at Montrose, and Helen, daughter of the Rev. Robert Taylor. He was educated at the Grammar School at Montrose, and in 1787 …   Dictionary of Australian Biography

  • Brown, Robert Delford — (1930 Portland, Colorado ) (USA)    Pop and performance artist. Studied at Long Beach College and UCLA. Studied under Howard Warshaw. In the late 1970s he produced erotic tapestries and sometimes uses porno imagery in his works.    Reproductions …   Dictionary of erotic artists: painters, sculptors, printmakers, graphic designers and illustrators

  • Brown, Robert — ► (1773 1858) Botánico británico. Descubrió el movimiento browniano. Estudió la flora australiana. * * * (21 dic. 1773, Montrose, Angus, Escocia.–10 jun. 1858, Londres, Inglaterra) Botánico escocés. Hijo de un clérigo, estudió medicina en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BROWN, ROBERT —    a distinguished botanist, born at Montrose, son of an Episcopal clergyman; accompanied an expedition to survey the coast of Australia in 1801, returned after four years exploration, with 4000 plants mostly new to science, which he classified… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Robert Brown (botanist) — Robert Brown FRS (21 December, 1773 ndash; 10 June, 1858) was a Scottish scientist who is acknowledged as the leading botanist to collect in Australia during the first half of the 19th century. He also is credited with the first observation of… …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Brown — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Robert Brown Robert Brown (1773–1858) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Robert brown (botaniste) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Robert Brown. Robert Brown …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”