Robert Wilhelm Bunsen s name was famous for a a few discoveries in the field of chemistry. For example you might recognize Bunsen from the lab device, the Bunsen Burner . He also helped invent the spectroscope and discovered spectrum analysis. And at the beginning of his career, he discovered that iron oxide is an antidote for arsenic.
Robert Bunsen was born on March 31st, 1811 in Gottingen, Germany.
He was educated at the University of Gottingen, and between 1836 and 1852, he taught at the Polytechnic Institute in Kassel and the universities of Marburg + Breslau. He was considered as one of the greatest chemists in the world all because of his discoveries and inventions.
Though Bunsen s name may make you think about the Bunsen Burner (by popular belief), it turns out that he had little to do with the invention. Although he popularized the device, the credit for the design goes to the British chemist/physicist, Michael Faraday. Bunsen improved the burner’s design to aid in spectroscopy. The bunsen burner was a heating device that s used in labs because it proveides a hot, steady and smokeless flame. It was named after Robert Bunsen because he was the one who adapted the concept of the gas-air burner in 1855. The burner is a short and vertical tube of metal connected to a gas source and there s a hole at the bottom to admit the air. The flow of the air is controlled by an adjustable collar on the tube.
Within five years of the development of the burner, Bunsen and was deeply involved with spectroscopy, inventing another instrument: the Bunsen-Kirchhoff spectroscope. This instrument of chemical analysis can trace its ancestry to components like a “prism, a cigar box, and two ends of otherwise unusable old telescopes. From the beginnings came the instrument which proved to be of importance in chemical analysis and the discovery of new elements.