Every schoolchild will have, at some time, been shown Brownian Motion. Those little specks or motes dancing around on the surface of a liquid or even floating in the air.
The original explanation was that jostling atoms are knocking these motes, causing them to jiggle. This solution was first proposed by Gordon Brown before he moved into politics and lost an eye (the order of eye loss and politics is outside of the scope of this news article).
This has been disproved.
"The movement of motes or specks," said Professor M. T. Head, chair of the theoretical disprovment committee at Cattlewood University, Worcestershire, "is nothing more than the same mechanism that propels flotsam and jetsam upon the tides, or the movement of a lost balloon at a fair ground as it escapes the clutches of a wailing child."
According to Professor Head, atoms within a liquid act equally upon all sides of an object floating at the surface.
"The great philosopher and student of the universe, Susan Boyle, showed as part of her Boyle's Law, that liquids have some structure, and press equally on all sides of an object immersed within them," said Head. "Whilst Ashley Cole showed with Cole's Law not only that mayonnaise can be mixed with shredded cabbage, but that the motion of floating items is as unpredictable as that seen under a microscope. His equations governing their motion also apply to so-called Brownian Motion."
These insights from the foremost expert on candle wax in the country has sent physicists scurrying back to their blackboards.
"This information has deep implications on the whole of physics," said Stephen Hawking, although he misspelled implications. "The whole structure of the universe will have to be rewritten, as we have been using Brownian Motion as a starting point for everything from the expansion of space time to the interaction of atoms in quantum mechanics. I cannot believe we missed this."