Bunsen , Robert Wilhelm
(1811–1899) German chemist
Bunsen, the son of a professor of linguistics, gained his doctorate at the university in his native city of Göttingen (1830) with a thesis on hygrometers. After an extensive scientific tour in Europe, he became a lecturer at Göttingen in 1834. He was professor of chemistry at Kassel (1836), Marburg (1841), and Heidelberg (1852–89).
Bunsen carried out one great series of researches in organic chemistry, Studies in the Cacodyl Series (1837–42), after which he abandoned organic for analytical and inorganic chemistry. During his research on the highly toxic cacodyl compound he lost one eye in an explosion and twice nearly killed himself through arsenic poisoning. He prepared various derivatives of cacodyl (tetramethylarsine, (CH3)2As2(CH3)2), including the chloride, iodide, fluoride, and cyanide, and his work was eagerly welcomed by Jöns Berzelius as confirmation of his theory that organic chemistry mirrored inorganic, the ‘radical theory’.
Bunsen was a great experimentalist, an expert in gas analysis and glass blowing, and a pioneer of photochemistry and spectroscopy. He also worked in electrochemistry, devising an improved version of the Grove cell. At Heidelberg he used his new cell to produce metals by electrodeposition. The classic paper Chemical Analysis through Observation of the Spectrum (1860) by Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff ushered in the era of chemical spectroscopy. The spectroscope was an extremely sensitive analytical instrument. With it Bunsen discovered two new elements: rubidium and cesium.
The famous Bunsen burner was introduced by him in 1855, although a similar burner, used by Michael Faraday, did exist before Bunsen and the regulating collar was a later refinement. He greatly refined gas analysis and wrote a standard treatise on the subject, Gasometrische Methoden (1857, Methods in Gas Measurement).
Bunsen was a great teacher and at Heidelberg he became a legend. Chemists who came to study with him included Adolph Kolbe, Edward Frankland, Victor and Lothar Meyer, Friedrich Beilstein, and Johann Baeyer.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bunsen,Robert Wilhelm — Bun·sen (bŭnʹsən), Robert Wilhelm. 1811 1899. German chemist who pioneered in spectrum analysis and codiscovered the elements cesium and rubidium. He introduced the Bunsen burner in 1855. * * * …   Universalium

  • Bunsen, Robert Wilhelm — ▪ German chemist born March 31, 1811, Göttingen, Westphalia [Germany] died Aug. 16, 1899, Heidelberg, Baden  German chemist who, with Gustav Kirchhoff, about 1859 observed that each element emits a light of characteristic wavelength. These… …   Universalium

  • Bunsen, Robert (Wilhelm) — born March 31, 1811, Göttingen, Westphalia died Aug. 16, 1899, Heidelberg, Baden German chemist. With Gustav Robert Kirchhoff, he observed (с 1859) that each element emits light of a characteristic wavelength, opening the field of spectrochemical …   Universalium

  • Bunsen, Robert (Wilhelm) — (31 mar. 1811, Gotinga, Westfalia–16 ago. 1899, Heidelberg, Baden). Químico alemán. Con Gustav Robert Kirchhoff observó ( 1859) que cada elemento químico emite luz de una longitud de onda característica, abriendo el campo del análisis… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bunsen, Robert Wilhelm — ► (1811 99) Químico y físico alemán, que descubrió con Kirchhoff el análisis espectral. Fabricó una pila eléctrica y un mechero especial que lleva su nombre …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Robert Wilhelm Bunsen — Statue Robert Bunsens v …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Robert Wilhelm Bunsen — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bunsen. Robert Wilhelm Bunsen Robert Wilhelm Bunsen Naissance 30 mars 1811 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Robert Wilhelm Bunsen — noun German chemist who with Kirchhoff pioneered spectrum analysis but is remembered mainly for his invention of the Bunsen burner (1811 1899) • Syn: ↑Bunsen, ↑Robert Bunsen • Instance Hypernyms: ↑chemist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Robert Wilhelm Bunsen — n. Robert Bunsen (1811 1899), German chemist, inventor of the Bunsen burner …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Robert Wilhelm von Bunsen — 1. Bunsen burner 2. gas stove …   Inventors, Inventions

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