Jean-Baptiste Perrin

Jean -Baptiste Perrin ( born September 30, 1870 in Lille, † April 17, 1942 in New York) was a French physicist and Nobel laureate.


Jean Perrin studied at the École normale supérieure. After graduating in 1894 he worked as a research assistant and received his doctorate 1897. He then moved to the Sorbonne in Paris and taught there from 1910 to 1940 as a professor. After the German invasion, he fled to the United States, where he died on April 17, 1942. His remains were transferred to France in 1948 by the battleship Jeanne d' Arc and buried in the Panthéon.

His son Francis Perrin (1901-1992) was also a physicist.


The first works Perrins, which began during his doctoral studies, concerned with cathode rays and X-rays, where he was able to show, among other things, that it is negatively charged particles at the cathode rays. Further work dealt with the fluorescence decay of radium, and the sound generation and propagation. Among other things, he developed the Perrin tube, with which he first proved the negative charge of cathode rays in perfect manner. In addition, can be with her ​​the magnitude of the specific elementary charge can be determined.

His most famous work is concerned with the properties of colloids, with the study of Brownian motion of solute particles he could confirm the calculations and predictions of Albert Einstein, after obeying the dissolved particles to the gas laws. He was also able to determine the Avogadro constant by accurate analysis - the result was consistent with other provisions of the constant and was a decisive evidence of the particle nature of matter.

He won in 1926 with the Nobel Prize in Physics " for his work on the discontinuous structure of matter, and especially for his discovery of sedimentation equilibrium ".


  • Joule Prize, Royal Society, 1896
  • Matteucci Medal, 1911
  • Vallauri Prize, Bologna, 1912
  • La Caze Prize, Paris Academy of Sciences, 1914
  • Election to the French Academy of Sciences, 1923
  • Nobel Prize in Physics, 1926
  • Commander of the Legion of Honor, 1926
  • Commander of the British Empire
  • Commander of the Belgian Order of Leopold

Writings (selection )

  • Les Principes. Exposé de thermodynamique. 1901
  • Traité de chimie physique. Les principes. 1903
  • Les Preuves de la réalité moléculaire. 1911
  • Les atom. 1913
  • Matière et Lumière. 1919
  • Les Éléments de la physique. 1929
  • L' Orientation actuelle des sciences. 1930
  • Les Formes chimiques de transition. 1931
  • La Recherche Scientifique. 1933
  • Grains de matière et de lumière grains. 1935
  • L' organization de la recherche scientifique en France. 1938
  • À la surface des choses. 1940-1941
  • La Science et l' espérance. 1948


  • Nouvelles propriétés of rayons cathodiques. Comptes rendus, 121:1130-1134, 1895.
  • Application of the de rayons X à la mesure des forces de électromotrices contact. Comptes rendus, 124:496-498, 1897.
  • Rayon cathodiques et de rayons X-ray. PhD thesis, Paris, 1897.
  • Rayon cathodiques et de rayons X-ray. Étude expérimentale. Annales du chimie et physique, 11:496-555, 1897.