Robert Bunsen Facts

Robert Bunsen Facts
Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen (March 30, 1811 to August 16, 1899) was a German chemist. He is best known for the development of the laboratory heater that bears his name. His study of the emission spectra of heated elements led to the discovery of caesium (in 1860) and rubidium (in 1861).
Interesting Robert Bunsen Facts:
Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen was born in Gottingen, Germany and was the youngest of four sons.
His father, Christian Bunsen, was the chief librarian and professor of modern philosophy at the University of Gottingen.
Robert Bunsen studied chemistry, mineralogy and mathematics at the University of Gottingen.
In 1831 he earned his PhD and spent two years traveling and studying in Germany, France and Austria.
During his travels he met Friedlieb Runge who had discovered aniline and isolated caffeine.
In 1833 Bunsen became a lecturer at the University of Gottingen.
While there he experimented with the metal salts of arsenous acid.
He discovered that iron oxide hydrate will precipitate arsenic and it is still in use as an antidote to arsenic poisoning.
From 1836 to 1839 Bunsen taught at the Polytechnic School of Kassel.
He accepted an associate professorship at the University of Marburg where he became a full professor in 1841.
He continued his experiments with cacodyl derivatives.
Cacodyl is extremely toxic and spontaneously combusts in dry air.
A cacodyl explosion left Bunsen blind in his right eye.
In 1841 he invented the Bunsen cell battery which replaced the expensive platinum electrode with carbon.
In 1851 he was a professor at the University of Breslau.
In 1852 he became a professor at the University of Heidelberg where he continued his experiments on the electrolysis of metals.
Using electrolysis he was able to produce pure forms of chromium, magnesium, aluminum, sodium, barium, calcium and lithium among others.
In 1855 he and his assistant, Peter Desaga, perfected the Bunsen burner, a laboratory gas burner with a hot, clean flame.
He and his associate, Henry Enfield Roscoe, discovered the reciprocity law which states that there is an inverse relationship between the intensity and duration of light which determines the reaction of light sensitive materials.
It was named the reciprocity law of Bunsen and Roscoe.
In 1859 he continued his work on spectrum analysis with Gustav Kirchhoff.
In 1859 Bunsen and Kirchhoff invented an early spectroscope.
Their experiments proved that very pure samples of elements gave off unique spectra when heated.
In 1877 they shared the Davy Medal "for their researches and discoveries in spectrum analysis."
Bunsen was never took out a patent, preferring that his discoveries be used for the benefit of mankind.

Related Links:
Scientists Facts
Animals Facts

Educational Videos