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Physicists Do What Einstein Thought Impossible 193

An anonymous reader writes "Einstein worked on Brownian motion (the movement of small particles in a fluid as they collide with the fluid's molecules) in 1905, but said it would be 'impossible' to determine the speed and direction of a single particle during this dance. Now researchers have gone and done it, by suspending a dust-sized glass sphere in air (which slowed down its dance moves, since it had fewer collisions with spaced-out air molecules than it would have had with water molecules). The researchers held the sphere in place with 'laser chopsticks,' and then watched how the glass bead bounced around to determine its direction and speed (abstract)."

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