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In this program a fundamental experiment is performed. First conducted at the turn of the century, it provided proof of the existence of atoms. Tiny spheres of a single diameter of a yellow resin, gamboge, are suspended in water and allowed to come to equilibrium. Students count the number of spheres in suspension through a microscope at three different viewing heights. Since each sphere and atoms are in random motion, collisions occur. Statistically, the number of particles at any height should decay exponentially with height. From the slope of the relationship betweeen the logarithm of the number of particles and height, students can calculate Boltzmann's constant and verify the statistical relationship. (2 minutes)
Length: 2 minutes
Copyright date: ©1990
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