Brownian motion

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Named after botanist Robert Brown (1773-1858), who investigated the movement of pollen suspended in water.


Brownian motion (countable and uncountable, plural Brownian motions)

  1. (physics) Random motion of particles suspended in a fluid, arising from those particles being struck by individual molecules of the fluid.
  2. (by extension) A state of chaos or disarray.
    • 2003, Robert Wilson, Instruments of Darkness, Harvest Books, →ISBN, page 255:
      The sun was hot on my legs. I moved out of the doorway and stood in the room with my thoughts in Brownian motion.
    • 2007 November, Gil Schwartz, “Escape from the job monster”, in Men's Health, volume 22, number 9, ISSN 1054-4836, page 122:
      That's pretty much what I'm doing here today—asking you, right now, to sit down, take a deep breath, and stop. Try to see a future beyond that Brownian motion of your daily affairs.