Robert Brown

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Brown, Robert,

1773–1858, Scottish botanist and botanical explorer. In 1801 he went as a naturalist on one of Matthew Flinders's expeditions to Australia, returning (1805) to England with valuable collections. In his Prodromus florae Novae Hollandiae et Insulae Van Diemen (1810) he described Australian flora. A leading botanist of his day, he served as librarian to the Linnaean Society and to Sir Joseph Banks and later as curator at the British Museum. He observed Brownian movementBrownian movement or motion,
zigzag, irregular motion exhibited by minute particles of matter when suspended in a fluid.
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 in 1827, discovered the cell nucleus in 1831, and was the first to recognize gymnosperm as a distinct angiosperm. His studies of several plant families and of pollen were also notable.

Brown, Robert


Born Dec. 21, 1773, in Montrose; died June 10, 1858, in London. English botanist.

Brown’s morphological and embryological investigations had great significance in constructing a natural system of plants. Brown discovered the embryo sac in the ovule and showed (1825) that the ovules of conifers and Cycadaceae are not enclosed in the ovary, by which he established the principal distinction between angiosperms and gymno-sperms; he discovered archegonia in the ovules of conifers. He was the first to describe accurately the nucleus of plant cells. He discovered Brownian movement in 1827.


Farmer, J. B. “Robert Brown: 1773-1858.” In Makers of British Botany…. Edited by F. W. Oliver. Cambridge, 1913. Pages 108-25.