Bunsen, Robert Wilhelm

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 studies opened the field of spectrum analysis, which became of great importance in the study of the Sun and stars and also led Bunsen almost immediately to his discovery of two alkali-group metals, cesium and rubidium.

      After taking his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Göttingen (1830), Bunsen taught at the universities of Marburg and Breslau and elsewhere. As professor at Heidelberg (1852–99), he built up an excellent school of chemistry. Never married, he lived for his students, with whom he was very popular, and his laboratory. He chiefly concerned himself with experimental and analytical work.

      He found an antidote to arsenic poisoning in freshly precipitated, hydrated ferric oxide (1834). In 1837 he began his only notable venture into organic chemistry with a study of the highly toxic, arsenic-containing compound cacodyl. During six years of work with it, he lost the sight in one eye from an explosion and nearly killed himself from arsenic poisoning. His research led to profitable studies of organometallic compounds by his student Edward Frankland. Eventually, Bunsen barred organic research in his laboratory.

      Bunsen's studies of the composition of gases given off from blast furnaces showed that 50 to 80 percent or more of the heat was wasted and led to elaboration of his methods of measuring volumes of gases in his only publication, Gasometrische Methoden (1857).

      In 1841 he invented the carbon-zinc electric cell known by his name. To measure the light produced by it, he developed the grease-spot photometer (1844). He was the first to obtain magnesium in the metallic state and study its physical and chemical properties, demonstrating the brilliance and reaction-producing (actinic) qualities of the flame when magnesium is burned in air.

      Bunsen also invented the filter pump (1868), the ice calorimeter (1870), and the vapour calorimeter (1887). Though he is generally credited with the invention of the Bunsen burner, he seems to have contributed to its development only in a minor way.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • 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 — (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… …   Scientists

  • 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